In stories from rock ‘n’ roll’s past, we’re delighted to feature the bon mots of Steve Rapport. He documented London’s coruscating 1980s music scene, and fought for social and racial justice. Steve left the UK and headed for the San Francisco Bay Area in June 1992, and has lived there ever since. Meanwhile, his photo archive lived in filing cabinets in his friend Rod’s garage in Oxfordshire, England until the end of 2017, when photos and photographer were finally reunited. Steve has graciously allowed us to share his stories on Flashbak.
As he notes, some of his personal favourites would include The Clash frontman Joe Strummer running the 1983 London Marathon, Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands, New Jersey in August 1984, Annie Lennox at the Churchill Hotel in London in April 1985 and David Bowie on the set of the Loving The Alien video in March 1985.
By way of an intro, Steve shares the story of how he came by his first camera. In 1971, he was living in a council flat in Barkingside in Essex, England. His dad, Willy Rapport ( 1919-1984), asked the teenage Steve a question: “Do you want a camera?”
My dad was born in Canning Town in 1919, grew up a little bit naughty, and ran away to sea. A tally man, a right old Cockney geezer, and a bit of an Arthur Daly on the side.
He was known to dabble in goods of dubious provenance, and on a Friday night he’d come home with a car-boot-load of goodies that somehow always seemed to have fallen off the back of a lorry.
“Do you want a camera?” he said, as I pondered the assemblage of records and electronic goods decorating the rear end of his Ford. Resisting the urge to inquire from whence it came, I gingerly picked out a shiny silver Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic… And that’s how I came by my first SLR camera.
A few years later my old man was charged with receiving stolen goods, so I suppose they didn’t really fall off the back of a lorry.
You can buy prints of Steve’s terrific work at his shop.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.