Studio that put Bob Marley's world in the frame

PUBLISHED: 12:06 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:13 07 September 2010

Bob Marley, Lee Scratch Perry, Toots and the Maytals – the Jamaican recording studio and record label Studio One was awash with reggae greats – and for seven years Belsize Park resident, Ron Vester, was its official photographer. Now 15 of Vester s phot

Bob Marley, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Toots and the Maytals - the Jamaican recording studio and record label Studio One was awash with reggae greats - and for seven years Belsize Park resident, Ron Vester, was its official photographer.

Now 15 of Vester's photographs - selected from 346 - are going on display at libraries across north London.

"Studio One is often referred to as the Tamla Motown of Jamaica," says Ron. "It's a piece of history and I want to introduce it to people who haven't heard of it. I want it to continue down the generations."

Vester had been going to Jamaica since the 1970s, ever since he'd landed a job making commercials in Canada.

The island became his holiday retreat from the rigours of cutting films in Toronto. Finally, finding its lure irresistible, he moved there in 1992.

"One day, I was introduced to the singer Chandley Duffus. He invited me to visit Studio One and meet its founder, Coxsone Dodd.

"I kept visiting Dodd for about a year, and then I started asking if I could take photographs.

"Before too long, Dodd was ringing me, telling me who'd turned up and saying I should come and take their picture. It was a two-hour drive from my home on the North Coast to Kingston, but I loved it, so I'd go.

"I photographed Lee 'Scratch' Perry in 2003. He turned up for a rare visit and I went to shake his hand. He said, 'I don't shake hands' and grinned and said, 'I touch elbows'.

"All the singers, they were easy, friendly, accommodating guys.

"Being in Jamaica was the most exciting time of my life. I hope this exhibition interests anyone who likes music - whether they know reggae well or not."

o The exhibition Studio One Love will be at Holborn library, 32-38 Theobalds Road, until July 30, Heath Library, Keats Grove, from August 4-29, Kentish Town Library, 262-266 Kentish Town Road, from September 2-16, Swiss Cottage Library, 88 Avenue Road, from October 1-29, and Kilburn Library, 12-22 Kilburn High Road, from November 4-26.

Katie Masters


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