In the early ‘70s, Derek Ridgers — the British photographer best known for his ethnographic photography of music, club, and street culture — began documenting the nocturnal club scene in London. His latest book, 78–87 London Youth, out this month, looks back at his photography of British youth from 1978 to 1987, tracing the style evolution of London’s hedonistic club scene from the height of punk to the dawn of goth, skinhead revival, and the birth of acid house.
“The Bowie fans morphed into the Punks, who once really bored by the second wave of Punk and Oi (Skinhead Pub Rock), morphed further into androgyny and the sheer perversity of what the media dubbed New Romantic, where the only common denominator was visual violence and stylistic terrorism,” the video artist John Maybury reflects in the book’s introduction. “Beautiful kids (youth is always beautiful) were doing everything in their power to disguise their good looks and to subvert the conventions of fashion and style, and even of beauty itself.”
Click through the slideshow for a look back at Ridgers’s striking, confrontational portraits of the radical self-representation in the early ‘80s, from mullets to mohawks, shaved heads to dreadlocks — and even a cameo from Hamish Bowles.