The Rio Tape/Slide Archive: Radical Community Photography in Hackney in the 80s
In the 1980s, Hackney was one of the most deprived parts of the UK, ignored by Margaret Thatcher’s new vision of Britain. But at Dalston’s Rio – London’s oldest community-owned cinema – the Tape/Slide Newsreel Group was giving unemployed local young people a voice. It taught photography and sound-recording skills, and championed an alternative perspective on Hackney life.
In 2016, thousands of slides were found in a filing cabinet in the Rio’s basement, a legacy of this groundbreaking project. They document vibrant communities, street scenes, markets and social events. They also report on the social problems of a corner of London left behind, and on local activism against racism, police brutality, deportations, AIDS, the miners’ strike and nuclear weapons. This book will collect images and oral history. It will be a story of community, resistance and hope, told by the people who lived it.
Produced by Dalston-based Isola Press for the Rio, with authors Alan Denney, Tamara Stoll and Andrew Woodyatt, the book will display the best of the more than 12,000 slides that were painstakingly scanned and preserved. It will make the photos public again, as they were at the Rio in the 1980s. The book will be 255mm x 195mm (10″ x 7.5″) big, will be around 240 pages long and the photos will be printed on a premium paper (the same as the Isola Press Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive book) that really suits the tones and colours of vintage film photography. The essays will be printed on a coloured paper stock, and it will have a softcover, with flaps.