In 1989 thousands, then millions of kids from the suburbs, put glamour, cool and even alcohol to one side and built a new life around music and a fever for togetherness – raving.
If you were there, Gavin Watson’s photo’s will give you goose bumps; if you weren’t, they’re the closest you’ll get.
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Gavin Watson has seen it all, the guy has a lot of experience. From stomping through the 70′s and 80′s punk and skin scene, then shooting and shaking on the indi circuit as a Sounds photographer. Chronicling the rave scene of the 80′s and 90′s in breath bursting detail and then becoming Vice pinned up boy for the 21st century. This man with a camera captures ‘it’ in an intimate, heady and in your face style. He can recount endless stories when he’s in the mood. So we wondered what he’d been up to since his exhibition in Tallinn, so got this quick snap shot of the last 12 months…..
Since the RAVING 89 show I have done a 110 exhibition, of images I took on my first tiny snapshot camera, and a show about my brother Neville spanning 30 years. The NEVILLE show that I’m taking to Brighton next.
The Raving stuff went well for having zero mainstream press, the prints are still up in Brighton. One wonderful thing about the RAVING stuff is the youngsters love it.. and I’m getting great feedback, I love the fact that people can now discover my work though a different cultre other than the skinhead stuff. Selling the actual rave prints has been tough as I’m not really showing in dedicated galleries. So still need to organise print sales a little better. I’m getting some fashion and music portrait commissions, which is important to me as keeps me in the modern world, and busy.I think the most sales of PRINTS have been in Norway, care of GALLERI MAP out in Oslo, who have been doing a great job..
Not really, I saw a few of the guys when the book was published. And of course I see my brother quite often
Neville’s music career is really taking off, he’s working all over europe.
YEP! Got a 3 book deal in the pipe line concentraitinhg on my music photography, a written bio of my life as a teenager and a book called THIS WAS ENGLAND in-compassing images that could have only been taken in the 80′s. And maybe an I-APP with 50 of my classic images.
I’m excited that the students are going nuts, it’s about time people got angry…
Again I’ve been to Scandinavia a few times this year, and planning a show in Spain for next year.
Becoming a Grandfather.
Well if you wanna bring one of my shows over, you can see me then :)
is a photographer. Instantly recognisable from his 'Skins' work Raving 89 is his 3rd book of photography. Gavin presents the insiders view of the most influential youth cults of the past 30 years. His work as a music photographer at Sounds magazine will form the basis of his next book. Today he works in fashion, photo realism and portrait photography and his work is on show at galleries all over the globe.
Just reading the new I-D magazine (#314 Pick Me Up issue) and there is an interview with Gavin, during his photo shoot of a Dr. Martens campaign. Will retype it here:
CAN YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST PICTURE YOU FELT REALLY PROUD OF? Interesting question. I’ve always been really removed from my work. My first image published was in Shoe magazine, when I was 16. It was published all over the world, but I was so insecure I never “owned” it. When I got my first batch of photographs back from the processors, I instinctively knew I was going to be a photographer. Something organic, gut-like and instinctual just fucking hit me and that was it. I threw everything into it after that.
HAVE YOU EVER FALLEN IN LOVE WITH ANYONE FROM JUST TAKING THEIR PICTURE? No, but I definitely had muses that I loved taking pictures of.
IS ASH (STYMEST) A MUSE TO YOU AT THE MOMENT? I love photographing Ash, I think he’s a very professional model, but I haven’t really got any muses at the moment.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU HAD YOUR HEART BROKEN? Yeah, it’s never stopped. It was with Lourraine, a mixed-race Jamaican rude girl. I love people and then I take their pictures, it doesn’t work the other way round.
HOW DID YOU FEEL THE FIRST TIME YOU ASKED TO TAKE SOMEONE’S PICTURE AND THEY SAID NO? I always take pictures of my friends and family, I’ve never gone up to a stranger and said, “You look interesting.” What makes a photograph valuable is if I know the person in it and they look fantastic. Everyone’s a star, they’re the people I love, the person I know, and that’s why I always love photography.
Hey Jim, done mate!
Style photos et al. with a good long video interview there. I missed the PlikPlonk in Tartu last summer09. Good stories of house breaking in Estonia and great plans for Cuba.
Get a fookin decent soundtrack to accompany this excellent page mate. Those early days of rave were nothing short of revolutionary and they remain with me to this day – subversive, groundbreaking and daring – live the dream!