Dafydd Jones: Soho Moments at the Society Club
Being in the right place at the right time isn’t just luck – it’s a skill. Soho Moments at the Society Club documents this, with pictures of the rich and famous, from the Queen to Sting.
The Society Club is more shabby than shabby chic – there’s renovation going on downstairs – but the vibe works well with Dafydd Jones’ 80s photos. Nothing is posed, and if the people look good it’s probably because looking good comes naturally to them. Jack Nicholson sups on a beer, two rotund legs belonging to an unidentified lady laid casually across him, and scantily dressed women mill around on a Soho street in what looks like dawn light, unabashed.
The celebrity shots are chance encounters – the Queen passes through Soho in a cab, Sting is just sitting around. The most interesting shots are the ones that define Soho – the drag queens leaving a club, a girl sitting on a step at night looking up at some unknown presence, and the painfully thin stripper with a cavernous stomach spinning on a pole.
Dafydd Jones’ photos show a real lust for the street and a dedication to his art – the light in some photos suggests that he’d been stalking the streets for hours. The best is a blue image, probably more recent than many on display as the subjects are standing outside to smoke. It takes a few seconds to realise the two strikingly dressed women pictured may have more than just x-chromosomes. One faces away from the camera, and throws her head back to release a great plume of smoke into the blue air. The other looks knowingly into her handbag. It’s a rare and beautiful picture.
This kind of photography balances on the fine line between casual voyeurism and genuine talent, and it’s easy to mistake it for the front cover of Vice magazine. But Dafydd Jones’ work goes beyond that: his subjects and his compositions are considered, and he clearly has a love for what he sees in the streets of Soho.
Photos: Alejo Garcia
Dafydd Jones: Soho Moments is at the Society Club until 30th November 2013. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.