Tag Archives: photography

➤ Another eyeopener from always-there Ridgers

photography,exhibition, Derek Ridgers

Natassia Doubleoseven, Las Vegas 2012 – photography © Derek Ridgers


❚ PUNK AND CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER Derek Ridgers has a new show titled Afternoon At The Seven Palms And Other Stories which opened this week at The Society Club in Soho.

At his blog Ridgers writes: This is my first foray into the world of a very mild form of erotica. It’s really more like naked portraits. I’m not at all sure how it’ll go down but Babette and Carrie have been very encouraging. The above photograph is of the mysterious and exotic secret agent Natassia Doubleoseven. There are two photographs of her in the show (I’d better not tell you her real name in case she has me eliminated)… The Society Club is a small but trendy cafe/ bookstore/ gallery and it’s run by Babette and Carrie, who have both been very supportive. Some afternoons I go there and have a chat and a coffee and stare out of the window … / Continued online

➢ The Society Club is at 12 Ingestre Place, London W1F OJF

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➤ Webb’s flipside of the 80s fashion revolution as seen last night at the ICA

Cover girl: Scarlett Cannon at last night’s book launch . . . and covered in 1985 by photographer David Hiscock, scarfed by Hermès

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❚ LAST NIGHT DIEHARD 80s FASHIONISTAS celebrated the launch of an elegant hardback with far greater ambitions than most coffee-table photobooks. It’s a glorious personal CV posing as one man’s record of five energetic years. It doesn’t quite knock the sensationalist Casanova off his perch as the master memoirist, but Iain R Webb’s chutzpah certainly takes your breath away.

As Seen in BLITZ, Fashioning ’80s Style is among the most unabashed, single-minded, focused works of diarism you are likely to have read. In capturing his output as a fashion journalist, this book aspires to present social history expressed through fashion. He brings a new twist to the well-tried technique of oral history, because the 100+ collaborators who contribute to this book are constantly telling the author how marvellous he is, but in the second-person singular. They are talking to “you”, meaning “me”, the author whose name appears on the cover, Iain R Webb.

Its 272 pages record a series of testimonials: “You pulled so many creative people round you” … “We did it because you asked us to” … “You jump-started my career as a photographer” … “You were one of our earliest supporters” … “You had different ways of shooting things” … “You were doing the opposite of high fashion and glamour” … “You showed me a life that was different” … “You were so beautiful and excitingly aloof” … “I would have done anything you asked” … “You were the person who ––”.

There is no place in Webb’s memoir for Eng Lit’s Unreliable Narrator, or for self-doubt or inner struggle. His worldview is confirmed at every turn. Assertion is all: The 80s – we did it my way. We, the readers, are soon rocking on our heels at the sheer brass-necked cheek of it all!

Having said which, consider the credentials of everyone involved. They amount to a Who’s Who of the fashion shapers of the 80s: Jasper Conran, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Katharine Hamnett, Marc Jacobs, Stephen Jones, Calvin Klein, Barry Kamen, Baillie Walsh, Martine Sitbon, Princess Julia, Nick Knight, David LaChapelle and many more.

Iain R Webb, fashion,photography, books

The author last night: Iain R Webb signing his book with lavish tributes to his former colleagues

We’ve heard enough about George O’Dowd’s tawdry version of events. Finally we have a much-needed corrective view of the youth cultural revolution that fired up the Swinging 80s. As Seen in BLITZ celebrates Webb’s own unique take on the decade of egotism through the pages he produced. We hear the voices of his co-stars – the photographers, designers, models and stylists who supported him as a lynchpin fashion editor – all dissecting the nuances of their subversive visions.

The whole momentum of post-punk street style during the decade’s dawn, 1980-83, is what drew the eyes of the world’s fashion industries back to Britain and put London Fashion Week on the agenda of every serious commentator twice a year.

While studying fashion design at St Martin’s, Webb was at the centre of London’s nightlife crowd at the now-legendary club called the Blitz – very much one of the 20 key Blitz Kids, as the media tagged them. He rightly claims: “At the dawn of a hedonistic club scene that saw the birth of the New Romantics … on the pages of Blitz, The Face and i-D, a new breed of young iconoclasts hoped to inspire revolution.” These were three new magazines, soon dubbed “style bibles”, which gave journalistic expression to the fertile innovations in UK pop culture and defined the era.

Blitz was a desultory magazine, almost entirely devoid of character in its early years. It was launched in 1980 with a title that its owner says seemed “catchy”, utterly oblivious to the pivotal club-night of the same name and the precocious youth-quake putting London back at the centre of the pop universe. It took until about 1983 for Webb to recognise the gap in the market for radical and purposeful fashion journalism and to infiltrate Blitz, the magazine.

Iain R Webb, As Seen in BLITZ, fashion, books, photography

Webb’s ICA launch: the author sets the style for the evening. After Godot, out of skip? I stand corrected: After Wild Boys, out of Burroughs

Webb beavered his way up to becoming its fashion editor from Feb 1985 to August 1987 and was often given 20 pages a month to be filled with his “singular vision if they were to be taken seriously”. Webb’s USP was an “ongoing love/hate relationship with the fashion industry. It was not about selling a look, it was about saying something”. He expressed his ethos on a T-shirt in a 1986 photo shoot: “We’re Not Here to Sell Clothes”. When he was headhunted to join the London Evening Standard in 1987, his shoes at Blitz were filled by Kim Bowen, Queen Bee of the Blitz Kids, herself the wildest child in the club.

Webb’s purpose, he writes, “has always been to inspire or provoke, engage or enrage” and his images “manipulated fashion to explore ideas of transformation, beauty, glamour and sex”. His book brims with attitude and evidence that the fashion world did indeed tilt slightly on its axis during the 80s – as eye-witness accounts confirm in entertaining archive interviews.

How does an author cap all this? At his launch party last night at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the savviest fashion editor of his day sported an awkward grey suit, and a battered pair of lucky suede shoes, every inch Beckett’s absurd tramps waiting for Godot, looking to all the world as if he’d spent the night in a skip. Anti-fashion to a T. Who’d have thought Webb had once held plumb posts at Harpers & Queen, The Times and Elle? And won the Fashion Journalist of The Year Award in both 1995 and 1996. And remains Professor of Fashion at the RCA and Central Saint Martins!

Iain R Webb, As Seen in BLITZ, fashion, books, photography

As Seen in BLITZ, 1986: classic Hermès scarves redeployed as boxer shorts and tailored jacket. Model Barry Kamen says says the female model’s attitude is so Webb, so BLITZ

❚ THIS BEAUTIFUL PHOTOBOOK, As Seen in BLITZ, precipitates a weekend of events at London’s ICA. Today there is a pop-up show in the ICA Theatre curated by the author Iain R Webb to display his own highly confessional memorabilia, plus a series of talks with special guests, film screenings.

In the darkened theatre only the 80s ephemera are visible as you enter: an array of toplit boxes on tables, containing notebooks, diary pages, sketches and name-droppy correspondence. These relics of a career lie in plain wooden showcases – “vitrines” would be an overstatement – more like pauper’s coffins. They amount to a novel kind of runway show of “my creations”. On one sheet of paper, Webb outlines his vision as fashion editor of Blitz, explaining London’s appeal: “The young English inherit a fight-back spirit, whilst the old fall sleepily into a heritage of traditional and quality goods … Of late the two have begun to merge, and the results have ensured the envy of the rest of the world.” Another note identifies the icing on a girl’s wardrobe as “an abundance of dishevelled accessorising – 1985 is a time to be ALIVE”.

➢ Webb’s As Seen in BLITZ discounted from £35 to £21

➢ The Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s runs from July 10, 2013 to Feb 16, 2014

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1983 ➤ A True romance aboard Spandau’s triumphal Thames riverboat

Spandau Ballet,1983, tour, Gary Kemp

Spandau over Bournemouth, 1 April 1983: Gary Kemp teases the screamers at the Good Friday show in the Pavilion Theatre. © Shapersofthe80s

❚ YES IT’S 30 YEARS SINCE Spandau Ballet scored their only No 1 chart hit single with True, coinciding with their epic “Spandau Over Britain Tour”. By May 3, True the album reached No 1, while the single remained at No 1 as well. The band’s official website is celebrating with a month of recollections from 1983 and asking UK fans to offer their own memories. Naturally Shapersofthe80s was there on the waterfront and has a few inside stories of its own.

The month-long tour ended in triumph at London’s Royal Festival Hall 30 years ago today, on Friday April 29, because True hit the top spot in the UK singles chart and the night before Spandau topped the bill on Top of the Pops – only two weeks after its release. After the London gig there followed a right old knees-up for friends and family aboard a Thames riverboat. As it cast off Shapersofthe80s was onboard and snapped a True romance as Steve “Spiny” Norman took to the dance floor with bass-player Martin Kemp, while Steve’s mum Sheila tried to muscle in. Here are our snaps, never seen before.

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The band’s third album True, produced by Tony Swain and Steve Jolley, had preceded the tour and was to yield several chart hits across the world, Gold among them. The tour moved on to Europe in the summer and to North America in the autumn, when Shapersofthe80s will have some wild eye-witness scenes to report – laters…

➢ May 1 update: all five members of Spandau Ballet have agreed to an individual ‘TRUE’ Twitter Q&A session with fans, according to the official Spandau website – Q&A sessions start at 8pm (BST) on the official Spandau Twitter account, not their personal accounts, as follows: Gary May 3, Martin May 6, John May 7, Steve May 9, Tony tbc.

➢ 30th anniversary interview with Gary Kemp
at UK Official Charts website

The Observer OMM Oct 4, 2009

The Observer OMM Oct 4, 2009

HOW IT ALL BEGAN FOR
THE ANGEL BOYS

➢ Read the story of Spandau Ballet,
the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics
in my feature at The Observer

➢ Photographer Neil Matthews, another friend of Spandau from their earliest days, has been celebrating with an exhibition of his popstar photos titled My 80s Through the Lens, at The Great British Restaurant, 14 North Audley Street, London W1K 6WE. All images can be viewed online and are for sale in limited editions printed on smart archival paper. As well as Spandau, his subjects include Bananarama, Blue Rondo, Bauhaus, Haysi Fantayzee, Malcolm McLaren, The Jam, Nick Heyward, Bow Wow Wow and more.

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2013 ➤ A ‘blistering’ picture hoard from punk’s formative years

The Clash,book, exhibition,Photography, Sheila Rock

The Clash in 1976. Photographed by Sheila Rock

❚ FOR THOSE WHO SURVIVED the mid-70s, punk was the anti-fashion UK phenomenon that transformed contemporary culture. Now “a blistering 1976-80 photo-hoard” of mostly unseen pictures has been published as a 272-page photobook. Punk+ by Sheila Rock – an American in London – chronicles both designer and street styles that impacted on fashion, society and politics, including Vivienne Westwood’s shop SEX as well as BOY, Robot and Acme Attractions. The collection, which had been stored in a box in Rock’s garden shed, includes formative images of The Clash, Chrissie Hynde, Paul Weller, The Jam, Generation X, Siouxsie & the Banshees and The Sex Pistols.

Paul Simonon of The Clash says: “This book is a great photographic record of a major shift in British street fashion.”

Sheila Rock arrived in London in 1970 to join the David Bowie circle, and it was her friend and Patti Smith guitarist, Lenny Kaye, who took her to a gig by the then-unknown Clash. “That was the first time I was introduced to the punk scene,” she says. “I decided to take my Nikon camera with me and my photography career began.” Her photographs of showbiz performers and musicians have been published in titles from Vogue to The Sunday Times and can also be found in London’s National Portrait Gallery. This month her pix will also be showing in the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Mick Jones,,book, exhibition,Photography, Sheila Rock

At the Brown’s party tonight: Sheila Rock with Clash guitarist and vocalist Mick Jones. Photograph © by Beki Cowey

Rock’s career took off in 1980 in The Face, the 80s style bible published by Nick Logan, who describes Rock as “self-effacing but sweetly persuasive” in the preface to PUNK+. He notes how she refined her images to capture a style that portrayed what her subjects wanted to personify. She often achieved this better than they understood themselves.

Tonight the book was launched with a two-week exhibition of Rock’s photographs at Brown’s high fashion store in London, and a further show runs for a month from May 28 at Rough Trade East, where there’s also a book signing.

Mojo Magazine reports: “Sheila Rock’s PUNK+ book presents a blistering 1976-80 photo-hoard. The striking and fascinating photo-book collects almost 200 images of groups including The Subway Sect, Eater, Buzzcocks, The Clash and the Sex Pistols, plus documentation of the rapidly changing fashions of the late 70s. She estimates 90 per cent of the shots have never been seen, and that 85 per cent were self-motivated experiments rather than work commissions. Those enthralled by shifts in vintage youth styles will also delight in the images of unselfconscious punks, such as the young Jam fans who mixed the Weller look with the safety-pin aesthetic.”

➢ PUNK+ is published by First Third Books Ltd (London and Paris): 272 pages, size 20 x 27cm, limited edition of 300 copies signed and numbered, £99; standard edition of 1,700 copies, £49. The book includes illuminating conversations with Chrissie Hynde, Tony James, Don Letts, Jeanette Lee, Glen Matlock, Chris Salewicz, Jon Savage, Steven Severin, Paul Simonon, Jah Wobble and more.

➢ Sheila Rock celebrates punk at Brown’s Men’s dept,
London W1K 5QG, April 25–May 7, Vogue preview

➢ Another exhibition of photos by Sheila Rock runs May 28–June 30 at Rough Trade East, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL. On May 29 at 7pm Sheila will be joined by Don Letts and Jeanette Lee plus special guests for a Q&A event and afterwards a signing session for her book Punk+.

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2013 ➤ Duran’s Rhodes exhumes a 90s art-rock project that anticipated the downside of the internet

Duran Duran, Nick Rhodes, TV Mania, albums, photography, Bored with Prozac,

Never ask an artist “Why?” An inner Rhodes and another Cuccurullo, step up to brand their new project, TV Mania

➢ Nick Rhodes will exhibit a collection of original photographic works for sale at The Vinyl Factory Soho, London W1F 7BE, March 8-April 5. The collection, entitled Bei Incubi – translated as Beautiful Nightmares – will feature 20 Polaroids, and more than 30 original photographs and prints that have all been taken and signed by Nick.

❚ THE PHOTO SHOW celebrates the release on Monday of Nick Rhodes’s new experimental electronic album Bored with Prozac and the Internet? in a collaboration with former Duran Duran guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. Originally created in the mid-90s for the Broadway stage as the music to a “bizarre TV soap opera”, the tracks tell the tale of Cathy and Ray (named from the cathode ray tube) and their two children Sassy and Snoop, a fame-hungry family who give away their freedom to scientists in exchange for reality-show fame.

Bored was culled from a collection of tunes recorded when the band were between day jobs. Using samples from such sources as The Outer Limits and the British TV show Planet Fashion, TV Mania’s pastiche of cool beats and melodic hooks proved surprisingly prescient.

“It was innocently masquerading as an art-rock project, but there was a deep concept behind it all,” Cuccurullo says. “We were envisioning a world where a family would give up their day-to-day privacy and allow their existence to be televised to the masses, and this was two years before Truman showed and four years before Survivor. Now everyone is giving away their most intimate details online and on reality TV.”

“In 1996 the internet was still in its infancy,” Rhodes adds. “I was fascinated by communication and how things were becoming more instant and this was decades before all the sites we have now to communicate in different ways.”

A few months after Rhodes and Cuccurullo finished recording Bored with Prozac, a series called Big Brother hit the airwaves. “We looked at each other in absolute disbelief,” Rhodes says. “It was an idea that was in the ether at the time. We decided to lock it in the bottom drawer whilst we changed the story.”

➢ More details at TV Mania’s website

TAYLOR’s TALE FROM LOST SOUL TO HUMAN BEING

 John Taylor, Duran Duran, interview, books, video, In the Pleasure Groove,

John Taylor grilled for Google… Click on pic to run video in another window

❏ Also published today: John Taylor bassist and cofounder of Duran Duran can now be seen on video visiting Google Los Angeles last November to discuss his frank autobiography In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran. [Click on the pic to run video in another window]

Taylor tells his audience: “I have to fight to hold onto my memory these days, because there’s so much info coming at me… I started formulating an idea for the book, which is in three parts. There’s growing up in the 60s in the Midlands of England and becoming ‘John’… It’s a coming-of-age book, watching this little kid, an only child, and how he got into music. I had to find it for myself, at that time, 12-13-14, where the desire to remake my identity was so strong, and music in the UK had a lot of very strong personalities: David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Rod Stewart, Bryan Ferry. And for a kid who was not really connecting with school, I started connecting with these guys.

“The second section is hysteria and that’s really about the first five years of the 80s, this wild ride Duran Duran took. Then the third part is about becoming an adult human being … some of the more profound highlights of the last 15 years: losing parents, gaining children, marriages, divorces, all of that sort of real-life stuff. But through the lens of an ex-popstar.”

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