The Black House
Colin Jones

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  • Product Code: pt16005


Colin Jones, who was born in London in 1936, followed an unorthodox trajectory to become one of the most celebrated photographers of post-war Britain. He spent his childhood in the working class areas of East London while dancing for the English National Ballet. Jones bought his first camera running an errand for ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn in Japan. By 1962 he had become photographer for The Observer. His background enabled him to navigate different worlds, allowing him to develop a body of work documenting communities as diverse as the working class industrial labourers of Britain’s Northeast (Grafters), Afro-Caribbean youth in London (The Black House), and the high-octane hedonism of Swinging London with his famous pictures of The Who early in their career (Maximum Who).

Jones’ documentation of life at the Harembee project, a hostel for troubled black youth in Holloway, became one of the most explosive photography projects of the 1970s. The Black House captures the beauty of a community shunned by society and facing a bleak future. Initially produced to accompany a Sunday Times article written by Peter Gillman entitled On the Edge of the Ghetto, the larger body of work was then shown under the title The Black House at The Photographers’ Gallery in 1977.

In the early 1970s the name ‘Black House’ became associated in the public consciousness as the lair of infamous con artist and murderer Michael de Freitas (also known as ‘Michael X’). Though not connected to de Freitas’ former home, the Harambee project was located less than a mile from it.  As a result of media sensationalism, as well as prejudices and ignorance about black communities, the term ‘Black House’ was resurrected when news of the establishment of the hostel surfaced, leading to confusion about those living there. The Black House gives a human face to these vulnerable youths.  

A selection of Colin Jones’ The Black House is available for purchase. The following options are available: collectors’ limited edition prints as well as original unique vintage prints.

Collectors’ limited edition prints

These are available as archival silver gelatin fibre prints and are uneditioned. They come signed, dated and numbered, and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. The following print size is available: 16 x 20 inch.

Vintage prints

A limited number of unique and original vintage prints are available for purchase. They are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Prices are available upon request. Please note that all prices are exclusive of VAT, framing and packaging and posting.