I’m Com’un Home In The Morn’un: Elaine Constantine’s Photographs of England’s Soul Scene

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Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol, England // July 11, 2024 – September 22, 2024

The Manchester Ritz © Elaine ConstantineThe Manchester Ritz © Elaine Constantine

100 Club, London © Elaine Constantine100 Club, London © Elaine Constantine

100 Club, London © Elaine Constantine100 Club, London © Elaine Constantine

Steve’s Kitchen, Manchester © Elaine ConstantineSteve’s Kitchen, Manchester © Elaine Constantine

Manchester Ritz © Elaine ConstantineManchester Ritz © Elaine Constantine

In I’m Com’un Home In The Morn’un, photographer Elaine Constantine presents her dynamic and full-color images that capture the northern soul scene of the 1990s, depicting the extreme aerobics and the unstoppable energy of twenty and thirty-somethings.

In the early 1990s Elaine 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 music through the night. Elaine had been on the northern soul scene herself up until a few years previous 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.” – Elaine Constantine

Elaine soon became a regular again, traveling to venues around the country and photographing at many all-nighters, including events at Manchester’s Ritz and London’s 100 Club, alongside smaller and more intimate locations such as a lad called Steve’s kitchen.

Large exhibition prints will be on display in the Martin Parr Foundation gallery alongside ephemera from the era.

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