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Identity, Photography, Fashion: Images from new exhibition North

Jan 6th, 2017

//From the series Skelmersdale, 1984. Photograph by Stephen McCoy//

//Derrin Crawford & Demi-Leigh Cruickshank, The Liver Birds, LOVE, 2012. Photograph by Alice Hawkins//

//Raf Simons menswear Autumn Winter 2003, Paris Menswear Fashion Week. Copyright Catwalking.com//

Here is a selection of amazing images featured in new exhibition North: Identity, Photography, Fashion, which is open to the public from today at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery.

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Exclusive installation shots from North: Identity, Photography, Fashion

Jan 5th, 2017

//Mannequin, New Power Studio, Autumn/Winter 2010 – Spring/Summer 2012. Wall: Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, 1995-2001, Jason Evans//

//Set design, Tony Hornecker, 2016. Film: Stylist Simon Foxton discusses growing up in Berwick-upon-Tweed, produced in collaboration with SHOWstudio, 2016//

I am very grateful to curators Adam Murray and Lou Stoppard for these exclusive installation shots from their exciting exhibition North: Identity, Photography, Fashion, which opens in a couple of hours at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery.

Exploring the influence of England’s northern cities and landscape on fashion and visual culture, the show presents the work of such vital image-makers as Alasdair McLellan – who has created his first film installation for public display at North – as well as Jamie Hawkesworth, Glen Luchford and Nick Knight.

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On Malcolm McLaren’s reading list: Nik Cohn, Frederick’s Of Hollywood and Giorgio Morandi catalogues, Wilhelm Reich, Tom Wolfe and the folk art and magic studies which inspired fashion adventures with Vivienne Westwood

Jan 3rd, 2017

A few years back I came across Malcolm McLaren’s annotated copy of Indian Rawhide, the anthropologist Mable Morrow’s study of the folk art produced by Native American tribes which inspired the late cultural iconoclast in the conceptualising with his partner Vivienne Westwood of their Spring/Summer 1982 fashion collection Savage.

//Frontispiece to Morrow’s book, published by University of Oklahoma Press in the Civilization Of The American Indian Series, 1975//

//From Indian Rawhide: design produced by the Apache Mescaleros in Taos, New Mexico, matched by McLaren and Westwood with book-end marbling on this Savage slip dress. No reproduction without permission//

//The Apache design as it appeared printed on the end of the train on a Worlds End jersey toga dress. No reproduction without permission//

McLaren obtained a copy of Morrow’s book during travels recording his debut solo album Duck Rock. Since the Pirate collection of March 1981 had established a post-Punk direction for himself and Westwood and their Worlds End shop and label, McLaren set about investigating the powerful ideas residing in pre-Christian ethnic cultures, selecting Indian Rawhide as the text with which to frame the next group of designs.

My McLaren biography, to be published in spring 2018, will reveal that research – particularly literary – was one of the life-long consistencies in his approach to creative acts.

The musician Robin Scott told me that McLaren was an avid attendee of art history lessons during their spell as students at Croydon Art School in the 60s, and a couple of years before his death in 2010 McLaren confirmed that he was inspired in part to open Teddy Boy revival emporium Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road in 1971 after reading Nik Cohn’s peerless post-WW2 youth cult history Today There Are No Gentlemen.

//This edition Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971//

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Man Smart (Woman Smarter): Joe Stevens focuses on his female subjects

Dec 19th, 2016

//The late DJ/journalist Anita Sarko and fashion writer Merle Ginsberg at legendary New York nitespot Danceteria, early 1980s. Photo: © Joe Stevens//

On Thursday evening, veteran photographer Joe Stevens will be at Book & Bar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, presenting an illustrated talk on capturing the wonder that is woman, from Caroline Coon to Yoko Ono via Lulu, Madonna, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith and a host of others who embody one of my favourite song titles:  Man Smart (Woman Smarter).

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Eight Young Photographers: The poster

Dec 10th, 2016

//The image of the elongated photographers was created by Tim Stephens, one of the exhibition participants. Courtesy Mark Trompeteler. No reproduction without permission//

As a follow-up to my last post, here is the stunning poster for Eight Young Photographers, the third exhibition to be held at the Photographers Gallery (which opened at its original premises in central London’s Great Newport Street at the beginning of 1971).

The image has been provided by Mark Trompeteler, who was one of the participants along with talents such as the late David Parkinson then on the rise during the period when appreciation of photography as a form of artistic expression was beginning to take hold.

Says Trompeteler: “The silhouette of the photographers with the elongated legs was created by Tim Stephens, one of the exhibitors and one of my classmates back then at the London College of Printing (now the London College  of Communications).

“He tilted the back of a 5×4 camera in order to create the image. The Photographers Gallery organised the finished poster with the typography on top.”

Read about Mark’s work here.

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Eight Young Photographers: David Parkinson’s mould-breaking contribution to the 1971 exhibition

Nov 22nd, 2016
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//David Parkinson in the Eight Young Photographers catalogue, 1971. Image courtesy Mark Trompeteler//

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//Front, catalogue/fold-out poster, for the show which ran at the Photographers Gallery in Great Newport Street from April 6 to May 2, 1971. Courtesy Mark Trompeteler. No reproduction without permission//

Eight Young Photographers was the third exhibition to be held at the newly-opened Photographers Gallery at its original premises in Great Newport Street in London’s West End.

The gallery opened in January 1971 with a group show entitled The Concerned Photographer featuring, among others, Robert Capa, and followed that by simultaneously staging three exhibits, including a display of Polaroids taken by Andy Warhol.

Visitors to Eight Young Photographers, which ran during April and into early May that year, recall it as being an important staging post in the acceptance of photography as a subject worthy of artistic appreciation. Among the contributors was the late David Parkinson, about whom I have written often. He showed work alongside Mark Edwards, Meira Hand, Roger Birt, Sylvester Jacobs, Tim Stevens, Bob Mazzer and Mark Trompeteler (who has kindly retrieved the catalogue/poster for me from his archive).

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//From the Photographers Gallery listings. The show was preceded by an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s Polaroids//

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Michael Joseph’s 1971 ‘orgy’ shoot: Journey from Fernet-Branca billboard ad – starring Judy Nylon, Gala Pinion, Brent Sherwood, David ‘Piggy’ Worth et al – to covers of 90s/00s funk compilations

Nov 13th, 2016
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//The Michael Joseph image which was to be central to the 1971 Fernet-Branca campaign was featured in Dave Saunders’ survey Sex In Advertising, published by Batsford Books in 1996//

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//Front, Funk Spectrum, BBE Records, 1999. Photo: Michael Joseph//

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//Back, Funk Spectrum, BBE, 1999. Photo: Michael Joseph//

In 1971 the great advertising director and photographer Michael Joseph was commissioned to shoot a billboard campaign for the Italian digestif Fernet-Branca.

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Sayonara Martin Stone 1946 – 2016

Nov 10th, 2016

Martin Stone hopped, pre-dawn, through the Cheshire street market, scavenging books. Winklepickers, tourniquet trousers, mildewed beret, bulging swagbag: Blind Pew impersonated by Max Wall. Cigarette grafted to trembling, prehensile fingers, he was an anthology of retro fashion. And in his wake there shimmered a vortex of gossip and, amazingly, goodwill…  Iain Sinclair, The Independent, February 18, 1995

Sad to note the passing of Martin Stone, dapper devil and rock and rolling rare book dealer par excellence.

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The Rebel Music man: Dave Hendley exhibition opens this week

Nov 8th, 2016

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I’m really looking forward to visiting the forthcoming exhibition of the photography of Dave Hendley, who died this summer.

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//Outer gatefold, Rebel Music, Trojan Records, 1979. Design: Uncredited//

Hendley is best known for the photos he took of the Jamaican music scene in the 70s, but he holds a special place for me as the man responsible for one of my favourite compilations, the double-LP Rebel Music, released by Trojan at the end of that decade.

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Unflinching beauty: The work of Emma Hopkins in new exhibition FACE | TIME

Nov 3rd, 2016

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Tonight sees the opening of a group show featuring the work of one of my favourite contemporary figurative artists, Emma Hopkins.

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//Uta. Mixed media on polyester, 125 x 57cm. Emma Hopkins 2016//

Hopkins’ work unflinchingly considers the raw beauty of the human anatomy and physiognomy. As she says: “I paint people from the inside out.”

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