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Iain McKell Research and Response

In response to Iain McKell’s Sub Culture, I used my own film camera and documented today’s youth culture using black and white film to replicate McKell’s photographs. The photos show the similarities between the subcultures today and in the 1980s. McKell succeeds at capturing the raw, realism of the subcultures and the edge to fashion it inspired. After the development of the Punk era by Vivienne Westwood the ‘Skinhead’ culture was very much idealised and glamourised by the industry. The culture was highly commercialised by fashion brands due the rise in popularity after the discovery of McLaren and Westwood, which removed the patriotic meaning of the culture; which Iain McKell manages to capture in his ‘Sub Culture’ editorial.

Iain McKell, Sub Culture, 1980
Emily Mobbs, Response to Iain McKell, Brighton, England, 2021

Within my own research looking at the performative aspects of fashion, I started to study the performative aspects of livelihood; documenting people and their actions and what they wear whilst living their day to day lives. I attempted to mainly document the creative aspects of people’s lives which ended up consisting of curators such as musicians and tattoo artists. The hybrid of capturing these types of people and black and white film automatically added a raw edge to the my photography.

Iain McKell, Sub Culture, 1980
Emily Mobbs, Response to Iain McKell, Brighton, England, 2021    

Experimenting with documentary photography is an exploration of the boundary between capturing livelihood and exploiting people’s personal lifestyle. Sometimes when shooting strangers on the street I would ask if it was okay to take a photo or I would capture them from the back. The only issue with asking people for their photo is that they become more self aware which adds an awkwardness to the shot and doesn’t allow you to capture the candidness of the person or event.

Iain McKell, Sub Cultures, 1980
Emily Mobbs, Response to Iain McKell, Brighton, England, 2021
Iain McKell, Sub Culture, 1980
Emily Mobbs, Response to Iain McKell, Brighton, England, 2021
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