Role models steal snapper's show

Images of the people who have inspired one of Fleet Street’s first black photographers during the course of his 24-year career are on display at London’s City Hall.

Daily Mirror photographer, John Ferguson, hopes to motivate young people with Black Britannia – a selection of 50 portraits he has taken of successful black Britons.

Ferguson said he wanted to do the exhibition because of ‘all the negative coverage of black people’in the media. ‘There has been nothing positive,’he said. ‘There’s too much about gun crime, knives and hoodied youth so I decided to photograph inspirational people who have done great things.”

Ferguson said he also wanted to steer away from stereotypical black success stories of sport and music professionals.

The collection includes comedian Lenny Henry, who Ferguson said had been a role model, news presenter Trevor MacDonald and supermodel Naomi Campbell (pictured left)

but also lesser-known figures who have reached the top in their chosen career.

Photographs of the first black head-teacher Gloria Hyatt, firefighter Victoria Henry and the ICA’s artistic director Ekow Eshun are among the chosen photographs.

‘I wanted to show what can be done with perseverance, and to say – if you want it, go for it.’

Ferguson said there was more opportunity today, but as one of the first black photographers on Fleet Street he had to strive to be noticed.

Black Britannia ends on 18 April. Admission is free.

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