The last day of August 2015 marked the Summer Bank Holiday in the UK, and the annual celebration of Notting Hill Carnival. With around one million visitors each year, Carnival, as it is simply referred to by the local Cockneys, is reportedly the largest street festival in Europe.
The annual celebration first hit the streets back in 1966, long before tourists flocked to the area to stand beside the Blue Door made famous by the 1990’s film Notting Hill, which saw the character Spike (Rhys Ifans), posing for the paparazzi in little more than an unfortunate looking pair of pants.
Fast forward to 2015 (Blue Door long gone – auctioned off for an undisclosed amount) and photographer Amelia Allen took to the streets for her fourth year – ‘dancing to reggae and eating jerk chicken with her mates’, “It’s the people who make the carnival so vibrant and wild.” She tells FMS, “I love the multicultural aspect of the carnival where thousands of different people come together for two days a year to dance!”
In the same way that my Glastonbury Festival photography was about the people, this Carnival I was looking for interesting characters whose personality and mood you can read through the photo. Generally, it involved lots of twerking and singing!”
I went with friends and always take my camera with me just in case I see something exciting. I find it helps to actually dance and be in the crowd and enjoy carnival whilst shooting, rather than stand as an outsider and just snap. I wanted to capture the atmosphere I saw on the day through my images.”
It’s great because you turn a corner and the music changes from Reggae to House and you meet another set of people who are letting their hair down and having a good time. My favourite moment of this year’s Carnival was the last song at Gaz’s Rockin Blues on Talbot road on Sunday night, where they played Bob Marley & The Wailers’ ‘Is This Love’ and everyone was so happy and loving, singing to each other. It was a great finale before my friend moved to LA the next day.”
Crack on the tune and check out the gallery, we’re loving it.
Words: Sarah Hardy
Photos: Amelia Allen Photography