At the private view for SHOT IN SOHO, 17 October 2019.
Photograph: Heather Shuker and courtesy of The Photographers' Gallery.
LONDON'S SOHO covers just one square mile but it certainly packs a punch.
Soho is fundamentally neoteric and has remained at the cutting edge for centuries. It has also had the lion's share of Great Britain's creativity and notoriety particularly through the 1950s and 1960s.
Writer Dick Hebdige said of Soho "It was as if the whole submerged criminal underworld had surfaced, in 1965, in the middle of London, and had brought with it its own submarine world or popular fiction, sex and volence fantasy. As it acquired power it explored the possibility of realising those fantasies - the results were often bizarre and frequently terrifying".
This research formed part of The Photographers' Gallery exhibition 'SHOT IN SOHO' - jointly developed with Karen McQuaid. The exhibition and the SHOT IN SOHO book (Prestel) reflect on Soho's social fabric, history and subcutures - through the eyes of photographers, who have worked on its streets and behind the scenes from 1890 to the present day.
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Soho, London (Credit Mirrorpix Archive).
Infamous stabbing in a Frith Street greengrocers, in broad daylight, invoving Jack the "Spot'" Comer and Albert Dimes (known locally as "Italian Al"), August 1955. Spot described his own blade technique as "striping" - running down the cheek in a vertical motion - to avoid arteries - as that could lead to a murder charge.
Photograph of workers tarring wood blocks on the Charing Cross Road (1935) by Wolf Suschitzky. Wolf and I were looking through his prints of Soho at his Maida Vale apartment in 2015. Wolf was 103 years old but insisted on making me a mittel European breakfast. Wolf worked in Soho Square as a film camerman at the time of taking this photograph and told me he had wanted to create a photographic book of Soho which sadly did not come to pass.
Kelvin (Steve) Brodie. Soho shop. Courtesy of The Times, newspaper.
Our father in Soho. Jesus Rodriguez standing in front of Gennaro's Rendezvous Restaurant, 44-45 Dean Street in 1944. The site where Genarro's stood is now the private member's club the 'Groucho Club'. Photographer not known.