Behind the scenes at the Notting Hill Carnival

If you’re heading to Notting Hill Carnival this bank holiday weekend, take a break from the chaos and get a peek behind what makes the revelry happen at this stunning photography exhibition.

Photographer Pennie Smith (perhaps best known for her photography of bands including  The Clash, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin), will be using a street in W10 as a huge portrait album, showing a number of beautiful works that capture ‘the makers’ of the carnival at various Notting Hill locations.

Bert Clement, Tfl Station supervisor. Maker of carnival since 1993.

Bert Clement, Tfl Station supervisor. Maker of carnival since 1993.

Smith’s black and white images, shot on a Pentax camera, were all captured in July this year as preparations got underway for this year’s Carnival, the 47th in its history.

Louise Forster, London School Of Samba. Maker of Carnival since 2009.

Source: Pennie Smith and Red Stripe – Makers of the Notting Hill Carnival exhibition 2012

Louise Forster, London School Of Samba. Maker of Carnival since 2009.

Among the unsung heroes celebrated in Smith’s shots are jerk chicken stallholder Adrian Luckie, who uses his great-grandmother Mother Charlotte’s secret recipe, passed down for generations.

Adrian Luckie, Mama’s Jerk Chicken Station. Maker of carnival since 2010, attendee for more than 15 years.

Source: Pennie Smith and Red Stripe – Makers of the Notting Hill Carnival exhibition 2012

Adrian Luckie, Mama’s Jerk Chicken Station. Maker of carnival since 2010, attendee for more than 15 years.

We also see DJ Norman Jay, who celebrates his 31st Carnival this year. He says, ‘It’s the most important gig for me because it’s a shared cultural experience where everyone is welcome.’

Norman Jay Mbe, Dj. Maker of carnival since 1980.

Source: Pennie Smith and Red Stripe – Makers of the Notting Hill Carnival exhibition 2012

Norman Jay Mbe, Dj. Maker of carnival since 1980.

Shot in black and white, the amazing costume of Spanish dancer and choreographers Rosaria Gracia looks just as incredible. She cites that fact that ‘Nothing is weird. It’s where the weird becomes the norm’ as the reason for her love of Carnival, which she’s been attending since 2000.

Rosaria Gracia, Dancer / choreographer. Maker of carnival since 2000.

Source: Pennie Smith and Red Stripe – Makers of the Notting Hill Carnival exhibition 2012

Rosaria Gracia, Dancer / choreographer. Maker of carnival since 2000.

We also love this image of philanthropic Phil Legg, who opens his house to Carnival-goers every year and blasts music from his Futureproof Sound System out of his living room windows.

Phil Legg, Open House / Futureproof Sound System. Maker of Carnival since 2003.

Source: Pennie Smith and Red Stripe – Makers of the Notting Hill Carnival exhibition 2012

Phil Legg, Open House / Futureproof Sound System. Maker of Carnival since 2003.

‘Since “finding” Ladbroke Grove a considerable time ago, I’ve had a big soft spot for this area, especially at Carnival time’, says Smith. ‘So when I was approached to photograph some of the people who do the often unseen, hard work that pulls the carnival together, I was more than pleased to be able to document them, and show the corners that make Notting Hill home to them at Carnival time.’

The exhibition will be situated on the corner of Portobello Road and Lancaster Road, London W10, throughout carnival from 26 – 27 August and online at www.redstripe.net

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