Photos by Ish Sahotay
Words by Jamie Rodigan
We were looking for a cover image for the latest edition of our LargeUp Mix Series, Jamie Rodigan‘s British Invasion, when we came across this batch of images from Notting Hill Carnival. While none of the pics ultimately made the mixtape cover, they were completely intriguing, offering a raw and gritty view of London’s big street party from the sidelines. The shots, it turned out, were taken by Jamie’s friend Ish Sahotay, a London photographer who passed away suddenly during his sleep last year, at the age of 26. Further intrigued, we asked Jamie for the story behind the shots.
There was never a boring moment when Ish was around. He was full of life and joy, and his passion for music and art was undeniable. We knew of each other through a mutual friend and within a few weeks of meeting we were putting on a warehouse party together. We shared a similar taste in music; from Jungle to hip-hop and dancehall. His real passion though was photography and production. He always had a great eye for visuals and capturing a moment.
I remember deejaying at a nightclub with him in Mayfair for a Fashion Week party and the club owner came over to us and told us to stop playing our music, as it wasn’t in keeping with the venue’s house music policy. Ish promptly told him where to go, and we continued the set. This was Ish through and through. He always did what he believed in and never let anyone divert him from this.
Every year at Carnival me and a bunch of my friends used to play on a sound system on Portobello Road. We called ourselves Extra Stout Sound, and we curated a lineup every year for five years. It was always a great vibe, and exciting, as you never knew which artist might pass through and pick up the mic. Ish was always there with his posse, and he even took to the decks one year and played some hardcore dancehall records.
I remember the year Ish came down and took some photos. I had woken up late to get to Carnival and he was already there snapping away. When I arrived he showed me his brand-new camera and let me take a few snaps with them. We took a little stroll along Portobello Raod and Ish was snapping away as normal. Portobello Road is more of a thoroughfare away from the main Carnival route, and has a few static sound systems along the way so the photos aren’t your typical Carnival photos with floats and dancers. It was more of the patrons and a few police officers thrown in for good measure. Now and again, I revisit them and smile because he always captured moments perfectly but in his own gritty style. Raw and uncut.
Clapper Priest in full effect. A veteran of Dancehall and a regular at Extra Stout.
An essential purchase for any Carnival!
Our little sound doubled up as a bar and served a pretty decent Rum Punch. Shout out Papa B on deck.
Now this guy was a real OG. Suited and booted every year on Portobello Road, and always came to check us on the sound. Shout out Mr Faso on deck.
Noami, one of Italy’s top Dancehall Queens, in action.
This guy was dancing like no one is watching. They were.
I don’t remember this chap but that was always part of the fun. You never knew who was going to grab the mic.
These guys with the laughing gas were a regular fixture on Portobello Road
The boys in blue
Myself selecting for Extra Stout Sound.
I don’t remember this, but it he looks like he is having a good time, sort of.
Clapper Priest regulating the sound.