Selected from the open call submission for Photoworks Annual Issue 24, Derek Ridgers explains how photographing the LGBTQ+ communities and the impact on his practice.

I’ve been taking photographs at LGBTQ events – including Gay Pride and now Pride – for nearly 40 years now.

I never particularly sought those events out, preferring always to go wherever the most colourful and extraordinary people went, regardless of orientation.

Soho, July. © Derek Ridgers, 1984.


Reading Festival. © Derek Ridgers, 1985.

Of course, it wasn’t hard to see where that was leading me. And over the years, if it wasn’t for the gay clubs and those started by young members of the LGBTQ community, London would never have had such a vibrant nightlife and maybe British subculture would have died out with the mods and the skinheads in the 60s.

If it wasn’t for finding those clubs, I might have just shot a few punks in 1977 and afterwards, hung up my camera for good.

Le Beat Route, Soho. © Derek Ridgers, 1981.


Helena, Chelsea. © Derek Ridgers, 1982.


Gay Pride, Kennington. © Derek Ridgers, 1989.

But once I got started, I could somehow never quite give it up.

I still can’t.

Dave, Ladbroke Grove. © Derek Ridgers, 1980.
Dave, Kings Road. © Derek Ridgers, 1985.
Chelsea. © Derek Ridgers, 1980.
Chelsea. © Derek Ridgers, 1981.
Chelsea. © Derek Ridgers, 1984.
Camden Town. © Derek Ridgers, 1987.
Brockwell Park. © Derek Ridgers, 1984.
Brixton Academy. © Derek Ridgers, 1988.
Acid Daze Festival, Finsbury Park. © Derek Ridgers, 1986.

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