This photographer and ex musician shares an honest documentation of growing up in south London – including a young Jarvis Cocker on the cusp of fame
When Steve Ball was photographing his mates in Peckham in the late 80s and early 90s it never occured to him how relevant the images would be in telling the story of the London borough. A collection of ‘ad-hoc’ images, Ball shot ‘whatever was in front of him’ at the time as he hung out in The Grove Pub, drank tea in friend’s kitchens and danced the nights away in SE15’s hazy clubs ‘Lost’ and ‘Smashing’ – even Jarvis Cocker makes an appearance as he plays with the dials on a television set, just a year before Pulp released their British ‘anthem’ “Common People”.
Born into a working class family of 15, Ball, previously a drummer for the band The Psycho Daisies, found an outlet in photography and painting when at just 18-years-old he was paralysed on the right side of his body due to a stroke. The images remained unseen for a number of decades and it wasn’t until he began posting his shots on social media that London publishers Jane & Jeremy saw a chance to show the Peckham of a different era. Now, with the images published in his just-released book Peckham Loves Me, Ball explains, “It was ‘edgy’ to say the least and at times I felt vulnerable after having my stroke, but I slowly got over that. Peckham and a lot of London has changed architecturally and ethnically in the last 30 years – in my opinion, for the better.”