Skins by Gavin Watson
Skins & Punks by Gavin Watson
I was never a documentary photographer. I had no understanding of what I had done when I was taking those pictures at 15,16 and 17 years old. I rarely use flash, I hate using flash actually. Skins and Punks was not a subject that I intentionally set out to photograph, it was my life. The images I created were down to me being a fast worker, I kept things very simple using the one camera and film, this is very much the way I still work today.
Now wearing a dark trench coat and flat cap instead of boots and braces, he is friendly, quite intense, and extremely into playing Dark Souls on Playstation. Watson has also worked in music and fashion and published two other photography books. He owns neither of them, though, saying he's very "no-paternal" about his work. He just gives it all away. He's launching his fourth book soon— We Were Here 79—89 , a collection of hand-picked candid photographs from his youth growing up as a skinhead—which is why we're here in this pub garden, talking about work, life, and the past. VICE: Why do you end up giving all your books away?
Born and raised in a typical working class environment in northwest London, Gavin Watson began taking taking photos at an early age, documenting. I decided there and then that I was going to be a photographer. Then I went into it as only a fourteen-year-old boy could, trying to learn as much as I could from where I could. And I just kept taking photographs, mainly of my cats and my friends. Around the same time as Gavin got his first camera, he became a skinhead, immersed in immersed in the world of Madness and Two Tone. With a natural talent for his newly discovered interest, he set about photographing his family and friends, consequently documenting the social, multicultural, and musical scene that flourished around him.
Country, bluegrass, blues music. Although it is a new phenomenon, there are already grumblings that punk had sold out. Instead of killing the movement, a small subculture of bands, labels, and people begin a reinterpretation for the masses.
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We had a chat with photographer Gavin Watson about his new book, We Were Here 79–89.
Pictured is Watson's friend Nev in his other friend Kelley's clothes in 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". Watson says that his inspiration, as a working class boy, came from comics. Two of photographer Gavin Watson's friends Alison and Jane in 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 Photographer Gavin Watson spent years documenting the youth of his hometown, a place he describes as "pretty rough".