Legendary rock photographer Tony (AJ) Barratt show in Deptford.

Deptford High Street is turning into the new Hackney, a place that was once for down and outs. The ragged past of rock and punk music runs through its veins, now one of the most up and coming places in London, the area is filled with hipster wannabes moving down from East hoping to get more bricks and mortar for their money and the slow gentrification of the neighbourhood means the big brands haven’t moved in on the many independent stores….yet.

Upside Down Records has recently opened in the old Goddard’s pie and mash shop on the High street, owner Phillipe (Ex Rat Records) is chuffed he’s been able to open an independent store on the street, further adding to the cultural melting pot that is Deptford. “So many legends started out round here, it’s great to be able to continue selling their and others work, on beautiful vinyl. I want my store not to be only a record shop, but also a community led destination where people want to come and talk to one another and share their love of music”. 

It’s for precisely this reason Phillipe has invited legendary rock photographer Tony (AJ) Barratt to show his work, in-store. The Manchester born Barratt got into music at a young age, with pals more interested in prog rock, he preferred the more grungy side of music and longed for his weekly dose of music news with the delivery of NME magazine. He loved the interview and features but what really excited him was the photographs, he knew that’s what he wanted to do, so he headed down to the big City and enrolled on a photography course in London. He had one aim, to make it as a music photographer. He pitched his early work to Melody Maker. They gave him some work, he was mainly shooting live gigs but it allowed him to learn his trade and build contacts in the industry.

“Through a series of friendships, random coincidence and, to be honest, good luck, I happened to be welcomed into the hallowed portals of the NME, and became…A.J. Barratt! Incredible years followed, travelling the world, meeting my heroes, taking some bloody awful photos, but thankfully also some I’m very, very proud of. I lived the dream”.  Tony Barratt remembers his journey to the big time, “When the NME asked me to photograph Nirvana, my first daughter Lucca was about 6 weeks old. I was sleep deprived, and actually didn’t know what day it was.  When my wife asked me who I was off to photograph, I think I said, no idea, some crappy indie band! Two months later, they were the biggest thing on the planet! Kurt was really cool, despite the fact that he was in the grips of narcolepsy, kept falling asleep and was swigging cough medicine like it was going out of fashion. The other two just got drunk and kept shouting punk rawwwwwwk!”

Tony will be showing a selection of his photographs, including the aforementioned Nirvana shot, all of which will be available for purchase in an instore exhibition from Monday 15th January to March 31st.

The private view, which is just for Music Industry and Press will be on the evening of Thursday 25th January, 6-9pm. Join us at the newly opened Upside Down Records for an evening of craft drinks, live music, vinyl records and incredible photography.

This private view of Tony (AJ) Barratt’s amazing work spanning over 30 years of music photography will be a music lovers’ event not to be missed.

Register for your free ticket here.

To request guestlist for the private view email [email protected].

Featured Photo by Diane Picchiottino on Unsplash.

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