28 Pictures Of Women From London’s Lost ’80s Subcultures

Anita Corbin spent 1980 and 1981 photographing women in London – she’s now trying to find out where they are.

1. Lynne and Penny at home in Kingston, March 1981 (left). And trenchcoat owners, Oxford Street, February 1981.

Anita Corbin

 

This collection of photos, Visible Girls by Anita Corbin, is a study of youth tribes in the capital in 1980 and 1981 and is a fascinating glimpse into how subcultures show their own identity.

2. Marlise and Noelle, on a march for International Women’s Day, 1981.

Anita Corbin

Anita says of this picture: “When I look at this picture taken on a very damp International Women’s Day 33 years ago in Brighton I can remember vividly the energy and sense of urgency in the hundreds of marching and chanting women.

“We were barely five years on from the new Sex Discrimination Act and there was plenty to shout about – we were flexing our political muscles, we were ready to go out and make the most of the new equal opportunities made possible by law.”

3. Charlotte and Tessa, at home in Highgate, North London, April 1981.

Anita Corbin

Anita is in touch with some of the women but is hoping that the others might see this post and get in touch with her.

4. Simeon and Simeon, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

5. Pat and Karen, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

6. Judith and Janice, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

Anita wrote in her 1981 introduction to the series:


In this project I turned my attention to more personal visual details and I became increasingly interested in the effect appearences have on everybody’s lives.

The way we use dress as a means of communication/identification and how it can both inform and misinform us.

I have chosen to focus on girls, not the boys (where present) were any less stlyish, but because girls in “subcultures” have been largely ignored or when referred to, only as male appendages.

7. Charmine and Janice, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

8. Anne and Penny, at the Market Tavern, Vauxhall, February 1981 (left). And Nicole and Carol, at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, April 1981.

Anita Corbin

 

9. Two mod girls, Oxford Street, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

10. Laura and Janet, South London Rosettes, April 1981.

Anita Corbin

11. Di and Lee, at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, April 1981.

Anita Corbin

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

Anita Corbin

13. Quasi and Squasher, at the Royalty, Southgate, March 1981 (left). Kate and Friend, at the Royalty, Southgate, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

 

14. Lucy and Fiona, at Shades, Manor House, March 1981 (left). Titch and Sylvia at home in Sudbury, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

 

15. Rockabilly girls, at Shades, Manor House, February 1981.

Anita Corbin

16. Debbie and Mandy, McDonalds, Crystal Palace, November 1980 (left). Karyn and Sarah, at the British Museum, March 1981.

Anita Corbin

 

17. Kath and Em, at home in Putney, October 1980.

Anita Corbin

18. Carrie and Jill, outside the ladies’ in Crystal Palace, November 1980.

Anita Corbin

19. Shelley and DI, The White Swan, Crystal Palace, November 1980.

Anita Corbin

20. Susan and Linda, outside Southgate tube station, February 1981.

Anita Corbin

21. Ann and Charlotte, at home in Southfields, November 1980.

Anita Corbin

22. Jill and friend, the Blitz Nightclub, Covent Garden, December 1980.

Anita Corbin

23. At the Marquee club, December 1980.

Anita Corbin

So, are you any of the women in these pictures? Do you know someone who is?


If so email info@1stwomen.co.uk or go to 1stwomenuk.org for more info.

This collection inspired Anita to launch First Women – a collection of 100 portraits of women who were “first in their field of achievement”, due to launch as a travelling exhibition in 2018.

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