subculture Archives - Shoot|Photographers Agent London | Shoot|Photographers Agent London

Two teds from Jay Brooks ‘Forever Ted’ project.  See more here.

Grooming – models own.


Two teds from Jay Brooks ‘Forever Ted’ project.  See more here.

Grooming – models own.


The brewers Marstons hired Gavin Watson to create the story for their “From Burton With Love” ad campaign and product launch.  The idea was to get back their roots in their home town of Burton on Trent with a cast of employees, their friends and families; an ideal vehicle for Gavin’s blend of reportage and high energy realism.

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Marstons, one of the great names in British beer – their Pedigree ale is an all time classic – have decided to update both their profile and their product range for the age of craft beers and microbreweries.  The campaign goes back to the very roots of the business in the home town of British brewing and aligns Marstons with what their marketing director Lee Williams described as “the authenticity and simplicity of the new beer scene.”

Given the brief, Gavin’s style was the perfect fit and, as it says in the foreword of his book ‘Skins and Punks’, he has the ability to make ‘ordinary’ people look like legends.   The campaign characters were all street cast either from the Marstons workforce, including head brewer Pat McGinty, or the general population of Burton and the story was shot in various locations in the brewery and the town.

“I wanted places that people would recognise,” Gavin said, talking about the choices of key locations and local landmarks, “I wanted to capture the spirit of a place – making it look as dramatic but as real as possible – about what it is to live and breathe in this town.  The ‘secondary town’ thing resonates with me. Burton still has its industry and it filled me with joy when I came to a town that still means something.

It’s in the blood; in the water. If you’re going to live, grow and die in this town you’re going to be connected to brewing in some way. You can sense it as soon as you get off the train.”

Art direction and the ideas that inspired the campaign come from Big Al’s Creative Emporium.

Rebecca Miller met up with The Lemon Twigs, aka Brian and Michael D’Addario, in Brooklyn for a shoot for Noisey.

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The Lemon Twigs first album ‘Do Hollywood’ is exploding with precocious talent and already counts Alice Cooper and Elton John amongst its fans.  Their musical knowledge and sophistication belies the fact that they are still in their teens, as Noisey puts it “They’re a meticulous team, creating a beautifully baroque psych mélange of The Beatles and The Beach Boys.  Do Hollywood, is a feast of prog-pop curves, demented fairground refrains, and unexpected time signatures. They excel at lushly harmonised codas—jaunty one minute, forlorn the next—and neatly applied patinas of strings and brass. It’s an ambitious maximalist kind of pop.”

“When the D’Addario brothers talk about their childhood, it seems half their recollections are not memories but rather flashbacks of seeing themselves in home videos. There’s footage of the boys watching Yellow Submarine, the Dave Clarke Five movie, and The Monkees TV show. In one clip Michael sits in front of a keyboard trying to play “Strawberry Fields” (“I just didn’t have the capacity at five years old”). They’d obsessively watch the exhaustive doc The Beatles Anthology. “We know all eight parts and every aspect of their story,” declares Brian. “There’s nothing anyone could tell us about The Beatles that we wouldn’t know.”

“Along with being encyclopedic Beatles nerds, the pair have each mastered bass, keys, guitar, and drums, although onstage they switch off between the latter two instruments, each taking their turn to sing lead. “It’s weird to me that people couldn’t sing or do harmonies because we’ve been doing that since we were really little—our mom and dad taught us to do that,” offers Brian. “There’s a video of us putting our fingers in our ears, gathered around an unplugged mic, doing simple harmonies.”

We Were Here 79-89 is the title of the new book from Gavin Watson and to fund the project Gavin has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.


The book tells the story of Gavin’s teenage years in the 1980s, from the time when as a fourteen year old skinhead he first picked up the camera and began to record his world.

“At first, I was just a shy, dreamy kid taking pictures of landscapes and my cat. It was only when Madness and the skinhead thing…the Two Tone thing started that I really began to take lots of pictures.”

He photographed wherever he went, at home, at school, in the streets of the estate where he lived, and whoever he met, his family, friends, girlfriends and in so doing created an extraordinary social document.  Its importance has already been widely recognised.  For example, the film maker Shane Meadows has acknowledged Gavin’s work and cites it as a visual reference and inspiration for ‘This is England’

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“I’m not a skinhead or a punk photographer” says Gavin, “I’m a DIY photographer. Back then I was using a camera without having any real knowledge of what I was doing. So I just did what felt natural, by instinct, by myself. I processed the stuff in the bathroom. That was the point. That still is the point about the work. Doing it for yourself. THAT’S FUCKIN’ PUNK.”


“I didn’t feel my photographs were important but I felt that what was happening around me was unbelievably important and exciting. I was just amazed that we were demonised instead of celebrated,” he told us recently. “I managed to record my journey, which was thousands of kids’ journeys, all kids’ journeys, and that’s what the work shows really. Those relationships. They’re just young teenage kids trying to find their way in life.”GW-WWH-blogpost-008GW-WWH-blogpost-006

What makes We Were Here 79-89 so exciting is that for the first time Gavin has been a part of the entire creative process and has edited the selection of images himself; this is Gavin’s story told in his own way.

This book is also going to be produced at a higher quality than anything we have seen from Gavin before, presenting these photos in the way that such a legacy deserves.

To find out more about the project go to the We Were Here 79-89 Facebook page and to the Kickstarter to really get involved.


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Le Cool, London’s indispensable guide to what’s on and where, has interviewed Gavin Watson ahead of his appearance at Youth Club‘s First Tuesday event at Doomed Gallery in Dalston.  First Tuesdays are a monthly event (naturally) with Youth Club hosting a new talk by a photographer alongside a limited edition of Photocopy Club zine.  Gavin’s talk is subtitled ‘Time has Creative Power’ and is focused on the way the perception of his images has changed over the years as he tells Le Cool’s Josh Jones in this extract from the interview.

‘Hey Gavin, so what have you got planned for your talk at Youth Club – what will you be touching on?

‘Normally I just do it off the cuff because I never expect anyone to fucking turn up! This time I’m going to take it in a certain direction because I usually end up talking about anthropology instead of photography, it tends to get into being a societal talk about the history and movements of people and culture. I’m a bit like, “hold up a minute, I got kicked out of school at 15, what the fuck am I talking about this for?” There’s a photographic story there that very rarely gets told because the power of the images take over from the fact I was really interested in photography and is the great love of my life. I rarely talk about my photographic journey, we end up talking about Skinheads, the history of Skinheads, the history of rave and the culture around that. The reason these photographs exist is because I took them, and I took them because I love photography and knew how to work a camera. I had a moment of clarity the other day that all the Skinhead stuff is my mundane, personal work that I never expected anyone to see. My first real job as a photographer was working for a music paper called Sounds. I spent three or four years photographing all the bands of the mid-80s, from Morrissey to the Pogues, The Proclaimers, Siouxsie and the Banshees – the list goes on. And no one knows that I did it. I forget that I did it! I am a well-rounded photographer – I wasn’t in a bubble of just me and my mates on a Shane Meadows movie set! I was pursuing a career in photography and the Skinheads stuff was just part of the wallpaper of the time, of course two decades later it’s become something totally different. I’ve seen my mundane life become a golden era, it’s become romanticised.’

Read the whole interview here.

Youth Club First Tuesday is at Doomed Gallery on Tuesday 5th April.  Details here.


The Boys are Back in Town and Gavin Watson shot the nu lad fashion story for Men’s Health styled by Eric Down.




It’s 60 years this week since ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and The Comets hit number one in ‘the hit parade’ and teds invented teenage rebellion!  And as Jay Brooks reveals in this personal project they are still at it – though noticeably less teenage.

When teds rioted at the Trocadero Cinema in Elephant and Castle, fired up by the rock and roll soundtrack of the movie ‘Blackboard Jungle’, they sent middle England into the first of many moral panics and blazed the trail for the mods, rockers, skins and punks that followed them.

The teds – or teddy boys to give them their full title – in Jay’s pictures are a little more mature and stop short of riot but only just.  As you can see they still enjoy what teds have always enjoyed sharp suits, beer, rock and roll and the odd fag.

See more of Jay’s teds on his website here



Amit and Naroop are going to be talking about their experiences with crowdfunding, Kickstarter and The Singh Project at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane on Saturday 10th October.  The talk has been organised by the AOP as one of a series of events happening around the 2015 Awards show at the brewery running from 9th to 11th.

Amit and Naroop ran their successful Kickstarter campaign to finance the Singh Project, their exhibition of portraits of British Sikh men, which won them great media attention and acclaim.

Entrance to the AOP Event is free and it starts at 12.30 on Saturday 10th October at the Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.  For more information about the AOP Events over the weekend go


If you haven’t been already, you still have two weeks to get down to One Nation Under A Groove, Youth Club Archive‘s multimedia celebration of everything sub-cultural at the Southbank Centre.

The photographic exhibition features 120 images from the PYMCA Archive which chart the twists and turns of style and youth culture over the last half century, with work from 50 photographers including Shoot’s Gavin Watson who provided the poster image above.

There’s also a screening room showing Dazed Digital‘s acclaimed Music Nation series and documentaries from independent film makers, like Will Robson-Scott and Nick Cunard, as well as a host of other cool things to do.

One Nation Under A Groove is open every day at SE1 8XX, The Festival Village under the Queen Elizabeth Hall.  So get on down!






Street Feast, London’s self styled ‘nomadic street food circus’ opens a new venue, Dinerama in Shoreditch, this weekend.

In honour of the event Scott Grummett was commissioned once again to capture the foods, flavours and, this time, the faces of the Street Feast crew at their events in Dalston and Lewisham.  He did this with his usual skill and dedication to everything edible, making all the foods and drinks he shoots look as good as they taste.

Dinerama opens on Friday 12th June at Shoreditch Yard, Great Eastern St, EC2A 3EJ at 5 pm.



This month a set of the most evocative images from Gavin Watson’s archive collection are on show in the hallowed halls of the award winning London advertising agency CHI & Partners.

To see the images and more of Gavin’s work click here.


Amit and Naroop’s Singh Project is being featured as part of Alchemy, The Southbank Centre’s Annual Festival celebrating the shared culture of the UK and South Asia with the best of art, design, music, theatre, literature, comedy, dance and …food.

Scaled up to work in the vastness that is the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall, super-sized versions of the Singh images are suspended from the ceiling, together now with a fascinating and moving video of interviews with some of the Singhs.  See the video here.

There are concerts and performances every evening and events and shows, like Singh, to see throughout the day.  Alchemy runs from 15th to 25th May.








Street Feast’s Model Market returns to Lewisham and these shots from Scott Grummett show just what’s in store.

The Indoor/Outdoor Night Market is back for a second summer of street food, drinking, dancing and unrivaled vibes.

Last year the team behind Street Feast transformed an abandoned 1950s market in Lewisham into south east London’s summer weekend capital of vibes. Street Feast Model Market is now back with a stellar line-up of superb street food, brilliant bars, a purely vinyl soundtrack and wonderful crowd. Plus, new this year: a suntrap, rooftop bar and terrace (aka the ‘Lewisham High Line’).

Street Feast Model Market will be running every Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 1am until 02/03 October.

Gavin Watson campaign for Dr Martens

Gavin Watson for Dr Marten's Spirit of 69


Original skinhead subculture influence Dr Martens Spirit of ’69 by Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson once again collaborates with Dr Martens to photograph their newest clothes line Sprit of ’69.

‘The Spirit of 69 Collection is a modern interpretation of a look and attitude that was started back in 1969 by first generation skinheads’.

Crack Magazine recently interviewed Gavin about the campaign and his past documentation of skinheads, here.

The Spirit of ’69 campaign is also accompanied by a short film directed by musician, Mike Skinner. See the film and full collection on the Dr Martens website.

To fund an exhibition for their Singh Project, Amit & Naroop have taken to crowd funding website Kickstarter:

“The photographic element of the project has been completed and has been featured on many blogs and websites including the highly respected Its Nice That and Creative Review. It also has a great following on Facebook.”

Singh Project Kickstarter campaign

“Through Kickstarter, our aim is to put on a fantastic exhibition that is contemporary and modern in its appearance, yet rooted in tradition and culture in its substance.

The money raised will be used to:
– Print the thirty five images from the project
– Hire out a exhibition space to display the project
– Print high quality booklets
– Hold a private view event to showcase the exhibition

We have always aimed to raise awareness on topics and issues that we feel passionate about through our work. SINGH is a project close to our heart. A marriage of our faith and skill, it represents our identity as British born photographers and our Punjabi, Sikh roots.”

The campaign runs for another 24 days – an amazing opportunity to support groundbreaking work.  Amit & Naroop are offering some great incentives for those who generously donate, which can be seen in detail on the campaign page, here:


Having already shot campaigns for Dr Martens since 2011, Gavin Watson’s images are now being given pride of place on a capsule collection of T-shirts featuring limited-edition prints.

Best known for his images of the Skins and Punk subculture, within which he himself was immersed in in the late 70s and early 80s, Dr Martens X Gavin Watson sees the photographer and the iconic British brand collaborate for a second time – their SS14 collection which is now available to buy.

Dr Martens x Gavin Watson Lookbook

The lookbook for this collection has a more personal touch; each model is a close friend of Gavin’s. From Barry, one of his oldest friends to his favourite subject Ash Stymest and of course his daughter Kayleigh.






With his acclaimed archive documenting skins, punks and ravers, it made perfect sense that Adidas Originals commissioned Gavin Watson to photograph the four key sub-cultures of the last 25 years.

Eras in Flux celebrates 25 years of the ZX this year with Gavin Watson curating the different eras of youth culture that the ZX has affected: acid house (late 80s), jungle (early-mid 90s), garage (mid-late 90s), and grime (early-mid 00s).

Check out more from Gavin’s cultural journey here.

Photography: Gavin Watson  Styling: Katie Greengrass // Hair & Make Up: Jason Brooks & Kym Menzies-Foster // Models: Sophie Young @ Storm & Adam Jordan //  Producer: Jodie Hamilton @ Shoot Production


Gavin Watson recently shot artwork for Nottingham troubadour Jake Bugg. His new EP Messed Up Kids features the new tracks ‘Messed Up Kids’, ‘A Change In The Air’, ‘Strange Creatures’ and ‘The Odds’ – set to be released May 12th.

Check out the video for Messed up Kids  here

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Amit & Naroop’s personal project ‘Singh’  is a series of portraits of British Sikh men. To the duo, the turban and beard are the most powerful and obvious symbols of the identity of a Sikh man, and ‘Singh’ is a celebration of that identity.

Although the project is still in it’s infancy, it has already received a phenomenal response, including a feature on It’s Nice That

The men who feature in this project are businessmen, boxers, IT professionals, doctors, fashion stylists, temple volunteers, magicians and a host of occupations , all adapting the interpreting the Sikh traditions in their own way.

“The aim of ‘Singh’ is to capture the essence of modern “Sikhness” and to pay tribute to the beauty and variety of British Sikh Men.” – Amit & Naroop

– ‘Singh’ is due to be exhibited this Summer. In the meantime, keep up to date with the latest news and images from the project here

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Pip was commissioned by Gaolhouse – a new London denim brand – to shoot their launch campaign. Working with model Ricki Hall and designer & art director Will Unwin, the team shot against the industrial backdrop of Hoxton Docks, East London.

Gaolhouse is an old English term for ‘jail’. Their products are designed and developed in collaboration with Her Majesty’s Royal Prison Service – a unique approach that supports prison industries and utilises a skilled workforce as part of their rehabilitation.

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In his first feature with Tatler UK, Jay Brooks worked with renowned body painter Emma Cammack for their “Lose Yourself” article in this month’s issue.

The piece focuses on the rising trend of “immersive entertainment” –  interviewing founder of Secret Cinema Fabien Riggall, The Templeton family who started the extraordinary Shuttlecock Inc, and co-directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle from Punchdrunk, which has achieved cult status among theatre goers.

– The March Issue is OUT NOW

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They’ve arrived! Dr Martens have partnered with Shoot photographer Gavin Watson to present a capsule collection of limited edition printed t-shirts for the Autumn Winter 2013 season.

To celebrate the collaboration, Gavin has created a set of super high quality, collectable prints to stand beside them, and for the first time you can purchase these prints from the Shoot website.


For those not in the know…”Gavin’s intimate photographic style and documentation of British subculture make him the perfect fit for Dr Martens and he has worked on various campaigns for the brand since 2011.”

Featuring images from this vast archive, the tshirts have been designed for both men and women (available in two different fitting styles) and will be available from Dr Martens own retail stores from November in the UK, Europe and USA and online.” Dr Martens

The Gavin Watson for Dr Martens print collection is available here. You can read more about Gavin Watson’s unrivalled archive of 80’s skinheads here.

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“Much more than just jam”

The Women’s Institute has come a long way from it’s “Jam and Jerusalem” hey days.  With the appearance of The Great British Bake Off and Kirstie’s Handmade Britain on our TV screens, baking and knitting have never been so cool. The WI are now enjoying an unexpected revival with young women all over the country now wanting to join – there is now a waiting list! and our very own Rebecca Miller spent a fun filled afternoon shooting some of these lovely ladies for ES Magazine.



Continuing to immerse himself in the weird and wonderful world of some of the UK’s quirkiest subcultures; here’s the latest portraits from Jay Brooks‘s personal project ” Here come the Teds”


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Today the Paris based Le Journal De La Photographie, the bilingual and essential monitor of all that is photographic, features Gavin Watson and his ‘English Chronicles’!

View the full article here


In 2012, Søren Solkær Starbird began the very colourful and immersive personal project D.O.T.S to photograph artists who work in the public space.

Travelling to the Americas, across Europe and Australia, Søren has infiltrated the underground scene with the aim to portray the most significant figures in public and street art both on the contemporary scene as well as the pioneering figures.

Captivating and brilliant, the project will culminate in a book in 2014 with an exhibition to follow.

See more from the D.O.T.S project along with a video from his latest subject and adventure with Chris Pape aka Freedom in New York’s ‘Freedom Tunnel’…

Its big and beautiful

Gavin Watson is in the 02 edition of the super sized, biannual Upon Paper Magazine, appearing along side the greats: David Bailey, Nick Knight, William Eggleston, Wolfgang Tillmans, Solange Brand & many more.

To get your very own copy  Upon Paper Stockists

Time is the theme of the new issue of 125 Magazine and Gavin Watson‘s 14 page story ‘Neville’ reunites him with his brother, the model/muse of his teenage years.  This is the first time the pair have worked together as artist and subject for many years and it serves to highlight the changes time has wrought on them.

When 125 asked Gavin what was the biggest difference he cited the difficulty in persuading Neville, now an internationally renowned DJ, to participate.

Gavin explains, ‘Previously, he was at ease in front of the camera but Nev didn’t want to look like the person he was at that young age.  He wanted his evolved personality to show through.  He’s very different man today.’

But in spite of Neville’ initial doubts, the piece, centred on the sharp but simple idea of contrasting images of past and present, works brilliantly.  It is evocative and grittily tender as it explores the interplay of constancy and change.

To see more and find out where to buy 125 go to


The prolific Gavin Watson returns a third time for Dr Martens campaign this time featuring punk princess and ‘IT’ girl, Alice Dellal for AW12. Individual Style. United Spirit.

Creating an intriguing tale from the bar to the bath tub, as always, Gavin leaves us wanting more.

Jay Brooks brings you The Teds – a sneak preview. As part of his ongoing dance project to photograph the unusual to the extreme, his latest endeavour, The Teds, is really something special.

Recently Jay spent a very sweaty Saturday night locked up, camera in hand, doing his own dance to capture these intimate portraits. Absolutely brilliant!