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I'm Com'un Home In The Morn'un

Sale price£25.00

RRB Photobooks, July 2024
Softcover, Kraftpak printed card
22 x 24.5 cm
64 pages
First Edition including 100 Special Edition copies with limited edition 10x8" print in card slipcase
Text by Richard Benson
ISBN: 9781738516346

£25 | £125 Special Edition
Steve in the Kitchen
10x8" Giclée print, signed, limited edition of 100

Photographs of the northern soul scene in the 1990s by Elaine Constantine are the subject of a new book, published by RRB Photobooks, and exhibition at the Martin Parr Foundation. The photographs, many seen here for the first time, were taken in venues including Manchester’s Ritz, London’s 100 Club, alongside smaller venues such as a lad called Steve’s kitchen. 

In the early 1990s Constantine had recently moved from Manchester to London for her photography career and had been commissioned to photograph night clubs for The Face magazine. She was asked to make photographs at the 100 Club where they played rare American 60s and 70s soul 45s (northern soul) all through the night. Constantine had been on the northern soul scene herself up until a few years earlier and was curious to see how it had evolved. 

‘I remember going down those stairs into that dark basement and seeing those shadowy figures moving energetically in sync with each other; it all came back to me in an instant and made me slightly hesitant… It was obvious the scene had gone further underground, the crowd older, little new blood, the records more obscure and the attitude on the dancefloor as fierce as ever. Could I really take pictures in this place? As I suspected it would, the blast from my first flash altered the atmosphere. I braved it to shoot a few more from different angles but things felt worse with each blinding shot. The relief I felt when I heard the familiar opening bars of ‘This Won’t Change’ by Lester Tipton, a fast, raw, jerky yet tender sound. I pushed the camera bag under a chair and got lost dancing in the shadows until morning. The feeling of being some kind of culture vulture left me gradually with each record.’


Constantine soon became a regular again, travelling to venues around the country and photographing at many all-nighters. She made the decision to try and depict the scene using moving image, creating a documentary of the now dwindling scene for posterity. However, when she viewed her photographs she felt at the time that the images lacked something. The packed-out dancefloors she’d melded into aged 16 were far less populated and the extreme aerobics and the unstoppable energy of younger people en-masse had been replaced by a handful of 30 to 40 year-olds. As a result, she decided to depict the movement as a fictional film set in its heyday. This project became Constantine’s celebrated debut feature Northern Soul in 2014 and the original images relegated to her archive.


‘The images made in the 1990s were forgotten about and it wasn’t until I showed them to Martin Parr recently that I realised they did have atmosphere and that the ritualised aerobic pleasure they depicted, kept alive by a dwindling hardcore, were worthy subject matter in their own right.’


‘The images in the exhibition and book really show the unadulterated energy and joy of dancing to northern soul. How they maintain the stamina to go all night is beyond me. Elaine unwittingly produced a valuable document of a uniquely British subculture, where music, dance and style collide.  Martin Parr


Elaine Constantine was born in Bury, UK in 1965 and first began taking photographs of her friends hanging around the northern soul and scooter scenes across the UK. After working as a photographic technician in Manchester, she moved to London and became a freelance photographer, regularly contributing to The Face and later on for W and Italian Vogue amongst others Constantine was the recipient of a John Kobal Foundation Award in 1998 and the Royal Photographic Society’s Terrence Donovan Achievement Award in 2006. Her work has been exhibited internationally and included in exhibitions at the V&A and Barbican in London and the Museum of Impressionism, Giverny, France amongst others. In 2012 Constantine returned to the North West of England to write and direct Northern Soul. The film was released in October 2014 by Universal and reached the box-office top 10 on its opening weekend. In 2015 Northern Soul was nominated for BAFTAs Outstanding Debut award, The London Critics Circle Breakthrough Filmmaker award and won the NME’s Award for Film of The Year.