Alan Denney and Tamara Stoll discuss their new book The Rio Tape/Slide Archive, published by Isola Press, in conversation with Anne McNeill, Director of Impressions Gallery. Programmed as part of Impressions Gallery’s Online Photobook Fair 17 October 2020. 

The Tape/Slide Newsreel Group was an adult education project that met in the basement of the Rio Cinema in Dalston, East London. It taught young, mostly unemployed, locals photography and sound-recording skills and sent them out to report on Hackney life. The resulting ’newsreels’ were then shown on the big screen before the main feature.

The recently rediscovered slides – more than 12,000 – are a snapshot of Hackney in the 1980s: protests, social issues, work and play, and vibrant street life, parties and festivals. They show the borough’s diverse, working-class communities as they endured the day-to-day hardships of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain.

Alan Denney is a Hackney resident since 1974. He is a photographer and local historian, and he scanned the entire Rio slide collection.

Tamara Stoll is an artist and community activist. Her self-published book Ridley Road Market (2019) highlighted the history and people of this Hackney institution that is under threat from developers.

Anne McNeill, now Director at Impressions Gallery, started her career in the early 1980s running similar projects at the radical gallery Camerawork in Tower Hamlets and Nightingale Estate, Hackney.

More information can be found on the Rio Cinema Archive Instagram page

36 minutes 35 seconds: Produced by Impressions Gallery 2020