Skinheads of London were captured on camera by Derek Ridgers. Between 1979 and 1984, Rigers recorded a youth culture that to many was all about the music (Trojan records and Jamaican rude boys) to some was about the far right and violence. The neo-Nazis robbed Skinheads of their cool, draping them in menace and racism.
But there was always cameraderie.
“I thought they were the most photogenic youth cult of all. Among them were some undeniably beautiful and memorable faces, some of the best faces I’ve ever photographed.”
They are great photos of a lost youth culture.
Captions are by the photographer.
“Kate, left, and Lesley, Shoreditch, 1979″ kicks things off.
Chelsea, March 1982. Photograph: Derek Ridgers
Dawn, left, and Becky, photographed in Putney Railway Station, 1980. Photograph: Derek Ridgers
This is John and Dave (gleaned simply from looking at their tattoos) in Chelsea in 1981. Photograph: Derek Ridgers
Leicester Square, 1981.
Donna, Leicester Square, 1981.
Young skinhead photographed close to Carnaby Street in 1980.
Kate, left, and Lesley, Shoreditch, 1979.
Two skinhead girls photographed on a bank holiday in Brighton (this is the image later used by Morrissey on the Your Arsenal tour).
Skinheads hanging around outside The Last Resort shop in Goulston Street, 1981.
I entitled this photograph ‘Smiler’ since he’s got it written on his jacket. His real name was Wayne and his street name was Wally. In an email he informed me that he was 16 when I took this photograph in 1984.
Photographed in Billys, at 69 Dean Street, Soho 1979. This was my first encounter with any skinheads since the early 70s and Wally, the guy waving a fist, was the guy that persuaded me to hang out with them and take more photos. Photograph: Derek Ridgers
Where are they now?
Derek Ridgers’ Skinheads 1979-1984 is published by Omnibus Press.