An image from ‘Skins & Punks’, a new book by photographer Gavin Watson that documents the punk subculture between 1978 and 1985. Pictured is Watson’s friend Nev in his other friend Kelley’s clothes in 1983. As the book’s champion, Vice Magazine Editor Andy Capper, explains in the intro, having pride in your appearance was a "very working class British thing".
"This is the last photo in the book because it symbolises when we all stopped being skinheads after a little thing called ecstasy started to come into the country," Watson explains. "This shows us all getting over our hangovers at the back of our house on a very sunny Sunday afternoon, hours after coming back from one of our first raves."
One of the few self-portraits of the photographer Gavin Watson in his new book Skins & Punks. Watson says that his inspiration, as a working class boy, came from comics.
Two of photographer Gavin Watson’s friends Alison and Jane in 1981. The photographer’s new book, Skins & Punks, is out now, published by Vice, and documents the era between 1978 and 1985. It features a foreword from Shane Meadows, who admits Watson’s original book Skins was a big inspiration for his film This Is England.
Photographer Gavin Watson and his girlfriend at the time, Rachel, in 1982, in his new book Skins & Punks, which is out now published by Vice. The book is a collection of pictures taken around Watson’s home town of High Wycombe in the late seventies and early eighties.
This is two local characters – Godard and Busby – in Wycombe town centre in 1983. Photographer Gavin Watson spent years documenting the youth of his hometown, a place he describes as "pretty rough". One memory Gavin has is of his first day at school, when a gang of kids attacked the school with nails in their boots and had to be fought off by the woodwork teacher.
"What makes Gavin’s photos so special," director Shane Meadows says in the book’s introduction, "is that when you look at them, there’s clearly trust from the subject towards the photographer so it feels like you’re in the photo rather than observing." It’s this trust that gives Skins & Punks such an honest insight into one of the most misunderstood youth movements.
Despite the fact that Union Jack imagery permeates the book and one kid even offers a ‘Sieg Heil’ salute, Gavin Watson explains the idea of skinheads as racists is completely wrong. "That’s only because posh university people who write for national newspapers are too scared to go out and find the facts about people," he says.
This shot was taken at a key stomping ground in Wycombe, Micklefield School playground, in 1982. Gavin Watson’s new book Skins & Punks is out now published by Vice. Watson has worked for a whole range of people from Levi’s to iD and various music magazines.
Local boy Symond with his motorbike in 1980. In an interview with photographer Gavin Watson in the book’s introduction, Vice Editor Andy Capper asks him how he feels looking back at these shots. "It’s a rollercoaster of emotions," he replies. "It’s complex. I guess one main emotion is that I feel sad that when I look at all these photos there’s not really been that many success stories come out of that gang."
Local skins Lee Spencer and Stuart Edema in Hatters Lane in 1981. Gavin Watson’s follow up to his seminal book of photography Punks, Punks & Skins is out now published by Vice.
High Wycombe’s The Octagon in 1980. Skins & Punks is a history of the two youth movements between 1978 and 1985. According to photographer Gavin Watson, they got on pretty well, bar the odd "gassing", which involved tear-gas pellets brought back from the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Skins & Punks is compiled from what photographer Gavin Watson calls his "Box of Death", a collection of thousands of photos of Gavin’s life and his family and friends that never made it into the original Skins book.
Upon its publication in 1994, the original Skins book was hailed as "a modern classic" by The Times and influenced everyone from Terry Richardson to Jurgen Teller, setting the standard for youth photography. This shot is taken from the follow-up book Skins & Punks, out now.
Skins & Punks is a visual celebration of a unique era in Britain’s – especially High Wycombe’s – history, and even has a shot of a young-looking Alan McGee making tea. These skins were shot in Wycombe centre in 1984.
Gavin Watson’s great archive of photos of skinheads and punks began life as a small collection of pictures of family and friends. In the intro to his new book he explains his love of photography began during a trip to Woolworths (RIP) when he had to choose between a pair of binoculars and a camera.
Skins And Punks is the follow-up to photographer Gavin Watson’s cult book Skins, and documents the youth movement between 1978 and 1985. It’s published by Vice and only saw the light of day after Vice’s UK Editor Andy Capper persuaded Watson not to throw his box of photos in the Thames.