Dennis Morris started his career at an early age. He was 11 years old when one of his photographs was printed on the front page of the Daily Mirror. A camera fanatic since the age of 8, Dennis was known around his East End neighbourhood as Mad Dennis, due to his preference for photography over football. After inadvertently stumbling across a particularly feisty demonstration by the PLO one Sunday, the sharp young Dennis took his film to a photo agency on Fleet Street who promptly sold it to the Daily Mirror for £16. Accustomed to raising money for films and camera parts by taking photos of christenings and birthday parties, Dennis was suddenly on to something; his hobby and all-consuming passion could be done for a living.
It was whilst bunking off school to wait for Bob Marley to arrive for soundcheck at the Speak Easy Club on Margaret Street, that Dennis's music photography career really began. Marley, quite taken with the young teenager who was waiting for him, invited Dennis to come along and take pictures on the remainder of the tour. Running home to Dalston, Dennis packed his bag and jumped on the bus. His photographs of Marley and The Wailers became famous the world over, appearing on the cover of Time Out and Melody Maker before Dennis had even turned 17.
It was Dennis's photos of Marley that caught the eye of the young Johnny Rotten. Rotten, a massive reggae fan, had long admired Dennis's work and requested that he take the first official shots of the Sex Pistols upon signing to Virgin Records. Still in his teens, Dennis was the same age as the Pistols and they soon learned to trust him completely, allowing him unrestricted access to their strange and chaotic existence. For a year, Dennis trailed the band, taking hundreds of undisputed classic shots of the band. The only photographer to put the Sex Pistols fully at ease in front of the lens, Dennis's work with the band established, not only their public image, but also Dennis's position as one of the most exciting and striking music photographers in the country.