Paul Gorman is…

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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‘Absolutely London’: Marx, Kenny MacDonald + PiL style

Oct 18th, 2015
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//Marx, the Great Gear Market, 85, King’s Road, Chelsea, 1979. Photo: Salvador Macasil//

In the histories of London street style, Kenny MacDonald’s King’s Road outlet Marx receives rare mention, yet from the mid-70s this unusual and tucked-away boutique was important in the development of the type of English tailoring-with-a-twist which has subsequently dominated a strand of menswear around the world.

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Of ties and men: The neckwear connection between Bryan Ferry, Malcolm McLaren and David Parkinson

Jan 17th, 2015

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//Malcolm McLaren, 1973. Photo: David Parkinson. Bryan Ferry, 1976. Photo Richard Wallis//

A couple of years back I showed examples of photography by the late David Parkinson to car-nut graphic design maestro Jules Balme; I knew he would be interested in the incorporation of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado in a 1973 Let It Rock fashion shoot.

What drew Balme’s eagle eye was not the car fin detail, but the fact that Malcolm McLaren in the shot below sported a tie of the same distinctive Atomic-style 50s pattern as worn by Bryan Ferry in the video clip for his 1976 solo hit Let’s Stick Together (and subsequently on the sleeve of the compilation of the same name rushed out to capitalise on the single’s success that year).

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//McLaren and models in Let It Rock attire – right are examples of the so-called “Alan Ladd” and “Jazz” suits – photographed in Acre Lane, Brixton for Club International by David Parkinson, summer 1973//

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David Parkinson: Fashion photography’s forgotten figure to be a GQ Icon

Apr 4th, 2014
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//Front cover, Club International, 1974. Paul Raymond Publications. Photo: David Parkinson//

Ahead of the publication of my piece about the late photographer David Parkinson in GQ UK in a few weeks, here are a couple of masterful images which demonstrate his stylised,  simultaneously gritty and glamorous approach.

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//Front cover, Man Only, 1974//

Both stem from issues of men’s magazine Club International; the 1974 cover shot model is wearing Parkinson’s decorated Lewis Leathers jacket which he used to dress other fashion photo-sessions. The image was also used on the cover of Italian soft-porn title Man Only.

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//Acme Attractions photoshoot for Club International 1975 including (left) Martin Brading and Don Letts and far right Steph Raynor. Photo: David Parkinson//

The spread above focused on the suits and menswear available at Acme Attractions, the Kings Road vintage/retro outlet co-owned by Parkinson’s Lesicester friend Steph Raynor, who appears in the photograph with Acme’s manager, filmmaker/DJ/BAD member Don Letts, and Parkinson’s assistant, photographer Martin Brading.

Raynor is among those who contributed to my feature on Parkinson, who is granted the accolade of ‘GQ Icon’ in the June issue (available at the beginning of May).

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Photography: David Parkinson shoots Acme Attractions

Jan 16th, 2014
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//Original print of photo for Club International, 1975. Models include, from far right, Stephan Raynor, Don Letts and Martin Brading. Photo: David Parkinson//

I’ve been enjoying researching materials relating to the late photographer David Parkinson for a feature for GQ magazine, so thought I’d share some of the images I dug out of the Parkinson archive concerning the 70s King’s Road retro clothing store Acme Attractions.

Parkinson’s position as fashion editor of Paul Raymond’s sophisticated soft-porn magazine Club International enabled him to style and present Acme clothing for a wide readership, on occasion using the shop team as models.

Acme was opened by Parkinson’s friend Stephan Raynor (they’d known each other since they were part of a gang of style-obsessed teenagers in Leicester in the early 60s) with John Krivine, previously a Brixton-based jukebox dealer, in 1974.

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//As the Parkinson photograph appeared in the magazine, flipped and tinted. Note ref to “Acme Tailors”//

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//Parkinson used ties from his collection – including some sourced from Acme – for this March 1975 Club International feature//

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Before Wire and The Motors, The Snakes: My part in their punk rock obscurity

Nov 3rd, 2013

//Richard Wernham, Nick Garvey, Robert Gotobed, Rob Smith on the front cover of Teenage Head/Lights Out by The Snakes, Dynamo Records, 1976//

I went to a good school (it was approved, as my first editor would have it in the late 70s. You had to be there).

I was taken on as a scholarship boy, one who showed enough promise for the fees to be paid by the council.

But I was lazy, not as bright as I made out, unhappy, an under-achiever. Aside from winning the cross-country race when I was 14, my life there was almost entirely undistinguished, so preoccupied was I with music, clothes and girls. I had pretensions to vast knowledge in all three areas undercut by lack of experience in the latter regard.

//Booklet with Quadrophenia, an album about "a cat with four personalities" according to me, 1973//

//School report 1975: "If Paul is as familiar with DG Mackean's Introduction To Biology as he is with the NME, he will pass his O-Level. As it is, he isn't, so I fear he won't." And I didn't//

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Blokes of Britain: Jah Wobble

Jan 24th, 2011

//Jah Wobble, 2009.//

NAME: Jah Wobble (real name: John Wardle)

RESIDES: Cheshire

OCCUPATION: Musician

It’s well documented that, in his teenage years, Jah Wobble was a member of the Four Johns, the gang of youths who gravitated to each other while at Kingsway College Of Further Education on the fringes of the City Of London in the mid-70s.

The other members included John Beverley, aka Sid Vicious, John Lydon – later Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols – and Lydon’s friend, John Gray.  Knocking around east and north London, the quartet followed football and voraciously consumed music from Bowie to Can to Hawkwind to Big Youth and beyond.

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Teddy boys on the loose

Jan 23rd, 2011

//Elisabeth Photo Library, Cleveland Street, London W1. Summer 1977//

11.30am July 1977: Strolling back from a parcel delivery in the shadow of the Post Office Tower,  past The Tower Tavern.

Three Teddy Boys already in there, sitting by the ceiling to floor window. There had been several Teds picking off stragglers the previous night after the screening of Sex Pistols Number 1 at The Other Cinema in Tottenham Street.

These three were evidently having a livener after being up all night in Soho and surrounds.  My brothel creepers probably did for it, with Hoofer army greens and a 60s shirt from Acme Attractions. I had black spiked hair (the vegetable dye ran blue down my neck in the rain) and afterwards one of the cops said: “Well, what do you expect walking around like that?”

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