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March 15, 2016

Visible Girls: Fascinating Photographs Capture Female Mods, New Romantics, Skinheads and Rockabillies of London in the Early '80s

In the early 1980s, Anita Corbin photographed the female punks, rockabillies, and mods at London pubs and clubs. Now 35 years on Anita wants to track down her subjects to photograph them again as adults.

“Back in the 1980s you couldn’t move for images of men in subcultural settings!” says Anita “As a young photographer, I was fascinated by the girls’ colourful and extrovert appearance and their desire to be recognised as part of a larger tribe”.

Anita was also fascinated by the closeness of women’s relationships. “Typically we are led to believe there is competition between women but these girls were all about partnership, about creating an environment together in which young women could express and be themselves, find solidarity and be creative in their dress away from fashion mainstream and stereotypes. Their ‘subcultures’ gave them the opportunity to be subversive in their femininity.”

In her new project Visible Girls: Revisited, Anita has decided to go back and search for the women she had photographed in 1981. She had actually tried to re-photograph the Girls ten years after the project, but couldn’t find them; all she had was old telephone numbers!

Karyn and Sarah in matching outfits by the British Museum in 1981, with both sporting trilbies, jeans and loafers. The pair who appear to be ska fans are also wearing matching Madness T-shirts which bears the name of the band's album Nutty Boys.

Jill and her friend at New Romantic spiritual home, The Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden, where Boy George, Spandau Ballet and Steve Strange went out, in December 1980.

Shelley and Di in the White Swan pub, Crystal Palace, in 1980.

Two peroxide blonde friends go to The Marquee, an iconic music venue in Oxford Street, December 1980.

Di and Lee, at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, April 1981, in matching leather jackets and cropped haircuts.

Rosalee and Deborah at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, 1981.

Rockabilly girls Titch and Sylvia, wearing matching Fifties-inspired clothes at home in Sudbury, 1981.

Debbie and Mandy Macdonalds, pictured in Crystal Palace in 1980.

Two rockabilly girls at Shades in Manor House, February 1981 both sporting black belts, high waisted skirts and updos.

Susan and Linda outside Southgate tube, 1981.

Ann and Charlotte at home in Southfields, 1980.

Ska fans, Kath and Em at home in Putney, 1980, shot in front of their gig posters for a Specials show at Hammersmith Palais and The Selecter at Electric Ballroom.

Carrie and Jill outside the ladies toilets in Crystal Palace, 1980.

Mods Laura and Janet, South London Rosettes, in April 1981.

Quasi and Squasher at Southgate, March 1981.

Two mod girls in Oxford Street in March 1981, both wearing Sixties-inspired clothes.

Anne and Penny - pictured in The Market Tavern pub in Vauxhall, London, in February 1981.

Nicola and Carol at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill Gate in 1981.

Lynne and Penny at home in Kingston in 1981.

Kate and Friend, at the Royalty, Southgate, March 1981.

Lucy and Fiona in high waisted jeans and patterned jumpers at Shades in Manor Place, March 1981.

(Photos © Anita Corbin, via Daily Mail Online)



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