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    These Photos Offer A Real Look At The Lives Of British Skinheads

    Derek Ridgers' collection of skinhead photos captures youth culture gone mad.

    In the late 70s, British photographer Derek Ridgers began hanging around with the skinheads in London's Shoreditch neighborhood.

    Rising out of a subsect of punk rock, skinheads were known for their distinctive style, brash attitudes, and propensity for violence.

    But Ridgers told BuzzFeed Life that in the time he spent documenting their scene, he never felt threatened.

    "The skinheads could be a little intimidating if there was a whole bunch of them and they’d been drinking," he said. "But no more so than a lot of other young people and less so than some."

    Many skins were aligned with the right wing National Front party, which rose to prominence in the mid-70s.

    Often from a working class background, young skins took up the mantle of racist, far-right politics as a means of gaining personal power.

    But just as many skins had no affiliation with the NF—or its racist, xenophobic beliefs.

    Ridgers admitted that he was drawn to the skinheads in part because of how photogenic they were.

    "Among them were some undeniably beautiful and memorable faces, some of the best faces I've ever photographed," he said.

    Ridgers also had a personal stake: In the '60s he'd been a part of the skinhead scene, too.

    But, he says, back then, "being a skinhead seemed to me to be all about the haircut, the clothes, the music, the girls and the fighting."

    The girls of the group — known as skinbirds – also posed for Ridgers' camera, sporting a feminine variation on the skinhead buzzcut.

    You can catch more photographs from Ridgers' exhaustive chronicling in the book Skinheads: 1979-1984.