A photographic exhibition reuniting women with their adolescent selves seeks sponsorship from SW businesses
Businesses across the South West have the opportunity to get involved with a unique and ground breaking photographic exhibition which explores a group of young women's youthful identities through the camera lens - and then revisits those images 35 years later. Visible Girls: Revisited (VG: R) opens in November 2017 in Exeter, followed by Bristol in early 2018. This ground breaking photographic exhibition is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.
With its inaugural July launch in Hull, UK 2017 City of Culture, the exhibition takes the onlooker on a trip from 35mm film to today's selfie culture. The travelling exhibition, which will be curated by archivist and specialist in style and popular culture Tory Turk, will be a comment on the development of portrait photography over the last 35 years. It poses the question: in this era of ‘selfies', Instagram and Facebook posts - and each individuals' technical freedom to manipulate and edit portraits - do the roles of fashion, music and photography still have a political function, or even an authenticity?
Anita Corbin, the Somerset photographer behind Visible Girls: Revisited, explains how the photographic exhibition will be reuniting women with their adolescent self. She says, "It explores the ways in which photography can help reveal how we feel about, and reflect upon, our identity and society at the various stages in our lives. It also looks at the power of belonging and belief - at women within the tribe of subculture."
Based in the West Country, photographer Anita spent her formative years in London where she captured the iconic images of young women united via various sub-cultures. The result was 28 double portraits of female skins, mods, punks, rockabillies, New Romantics, young lesbians and Rastas all out in their cultural clans, in the clubs, pubs, friends' homes and social centres where they hung out and discussed politics, fashion and music.
In 1981 the images were ground-breaking. The Visible Girls project toured the UK and the images were displayed in youth clubs, town halls and libraries offering a visual education in female subcultures. Last year when the Visible Girls story hit the media, the original images were seen worldwide by over 30 million people.
Anita comments, "We are delighted to have received matched funding from Arts Council England and are now seeking businesses who want to be involved with a project that will resonate with women across the UK. VG:R is an exhibition where mothers and daughters will find mutually provocative ground through which to forge a rare solidarity - that at this point in our history we need more than ever." VG:R already has the backing and sponsorship of Metro Imaging Ltd, the country's biggest printing and image processing agency.
The new exhibition asks the audience to connect to the aspirational aspect of exploring your own identity when the world is your oyster, the desire to be part of a culture or a group...and then how that identity, that yearning, has been fulfilled (or not) once adolescence has been left behind.
It is the second part of that proposition that makes the exhibition so compelling. 35 years later, when Anita started to wonder what had happened to all those women who were so fervently dedicated to their subcultural tribes, she went in search of those Visible Girls.
She asked to shoot them again to produce a new series of portraits that would help create the proposed exhibition. Innovations in the way we communicate meant that it didn't matter that Anita had none of the girls' telephone numbers. A piece by social media news website Buzzfeed meant that the search could be crowd-sourced. Interestingly, it was millennials that connected with the images; they reposted and shared the story on mass. Most importantly, the exposure generated by the piece resulted in the original girls getting in contact.
In Visible Girls: Revisited, the original images of these young women will be displayed in the same exhibition as the new series - the images of the women they became. The exhibition brings together two parts of a woman's life and interweaves societal changes related to communication and women's rights.
The 56 women who feature in the original portraits have spread out across the UK and beyond and people across the UK will have the opportunity to visit VG: R with venues in Hull, Exeter, Bristol, Norwich and Manchester already confirmed. More announcements on venues are in the pipeline.
1 & 2: Then and Now: Charlotte and Tessa
3: Carrie and Jill
4: Laura and Janet
Further information: Anita Corbin, Tel: 01823 662329 or mob: 07802 613911 or check out:www.1stwomenuk.co.uk