Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gavin Watson - The Real Thing

In the early 1980s, 13-year-old Gavin Watson began to take photographs of his mates, the Wycombe Skins. His Dad soon upgraded his Hanimex to an Olympus OM1 and by the time he was 14 the young Watson was snapping his brother's, mate's and girlfriend's every move. His images include thousands of shots that candidly document a subculture which is often misunderstood by the mainstream as being right-wing. A collection of these images, Skins by Gavin Watson, was first published in 1994 to widespread critical acclaim and in recent times his work has been featured internationally in VICE Magazine, and as a core reference for Shane Meadow's This Is England which, like Watson, portrays a ska/rude boy culture steeped in cross-culturalism and style - not racism and the National Front.

His photos show the versatility of rude boy style; as well as the Crombies, rolled up Levi's, braces, Doc Marten's, Fred Perry's and Harrington jackets (that are seen as standard) capped sleeve T-shirts, Trojan Record T-shirts, tweed caps, tartan bondage trousers and cricket jumpers all feature in the extensive archive of his work. In the upcoming Issue 10 of Black Magazine we are proud to have a series of as yet un-published photos from Gavin and an interview with him in London by the ubiquitous Mr Monaghan.