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Fan of The Jam becomes the band's semi-official photographer – and gets exhibition

Paul Weller The Jam
(Image credit: Future / Digital Camera World)

All music photographers start somewhere, often as fans or sometimes even musicians themselves. Derek D'Souza was a fan of English rock and mod revival band, The Jam, shooting images of the group from within the crowd at its live gigs and kickstarting a career as its semi-official photographer during the Eighties.

Iconic images of The Jam captured by D'Souza will be exhibited at the Barbican Music Library in London, England, in a free exhibition open to all from 14 January. The exhibition called 'True is The Dream' showcases images captured of the band, and frontman Paul Weller, over four decades. 

• Read more: How to photograph live music (opens in new tab)

D'Souza began submitting images he'd taken of The Jam to its fan club, where his talent was appreciated and spotted by Paul Weller's mother Ann. As reported by the City of London website (opens in new tab), the photographer was then invited to shoot The Jam in London at the 18th Century Chiswick House, in promotion of its single Absolute Beginners

His career spun upwards from here, eventually becoming The Jam's sort-of-unofficial yet semi-official photographer, shooting hundreds of images of the band and Paul Weller across the span of his career. The Jam released 18 consecutive top 40 singles in the UK, 4 number ones (including This Town Called Malice), with a number 1 studio album (The Gift) releasing in 1982.

In the Crowd: Images of the Jam 1979-1982 by Derek D'Souza (Image credit: Derek D'Souza / Amazon)
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The band was at the peak of its fame and popularity when frontman Weller stunned the music industry and fans by leaving The Jam to form new wave band, The Style Council (which split in 1989), leaving him to develop a lasting and successful solo career that influenced Britpop bands such as Oasis and Blur.

In The Crowd: Images of The Jam 1979-1982 was a book created by D'Souza published in 2014, showcasing the images he captured of the band at gigs and during sound checks. The book is in limited availability at various retailers and is described as representing how fans of The Jam remember them best.

D'Souza (opens in new tab) himself shares that, "this exhibition features photographs I took of the band on location, performing and relaxing… [the exhibition] is a must-see, not just for fans of The Jam, but anyone interested in modern British music history."

Wendy Hyde, Chair of the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee for the City of London Corporation, expressed that: "We are proud to display Derek D’Souza’s remarkable work as we welcome more and more people back into the City."

"These photographs are extraordinary glimpses of an astonishing band… The Jam’s energetic concerts and sound showcased their social awareness, and made Paul Weller a spokesman for his generation."

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.