1. Lynne and Penny at home in Kingston, March 1981 (left). And trenchcoat owners, Oxford Street, February 1981.
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 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.”
4. Simeon and Simeon, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
5. Pat and Karen, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
6. Judith and Janice, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
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.
9. Two mod girls, Oxford Street, March 1981.
10. Laura and Janet, South London Rosettes, April 1981.
11. Di and Lee, at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, April 1981.
12. Rosalee and Deborah, at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Gate, April 1981.
15. Rockabilly girls, at Shades, Manor House, February 1981.
17. Kath and Em, at home in Putney, October 1980.
18. Carrie and Jill, outside the ladies’ in Crystal Palace, November 1980.
19. Shelley and DI, The White Swan, Crystal Palace, November 1980.
20. Susan and Linda, outside Southgate tube station, February 1981.
21. Ann and Charlotte, at home in Southfields, November 1980.
22. Jill and friend, the Blitz Nightclub, Covent Garden, December 1980.
23. At the Marquee club, December 1980.
So, are you any of the women in these pictures? Do you know someone who is?
If so email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.