What would you say to the person you were 36 years ago?
As a 22-year old photographer in the early 1980s, Anita Corbin was driven to ensure that a generation of young women were represented in a photographic genre that was almost entirely dominated by men. Mods, punks, skinheads, rastas, young lesbians, rockers – young women everywhere were defying the mainstream, flying the flag of their individuality in clearly defined tribes characterized by music, fashion, geography and sexual orientation. Corbin wanted to capture the spirit of these women and the significance of their unity in a portrait series depicting pairs of friends, sisters and lovers in subcultures.
“I wanted these images to say: here we are! We are amazing! We can do what we want”.
The images toured the country to great acclaim in the 1980s and beyond, making a notable re-appearance on the social website buzzfeed.com in the summer of 2014 when Corbin herself had reached her mid-fifties. She had found herself wondering what had happened those girls –who would also now be in their fifties – and their dreams, hopes and aspirations. All of a sudden after a 33-year hiatus, the women started reappearing and contacting Anita, reclaiming their “Visible Girls status’.
As a result, Visible Girls Revisited was a born, a growing collection of double portraits of the same girls – now women – 36 years later. These images return with a story – the story of the lives of British women, their hopes, their experiences and their relationships. Many of the original Visible Girls will be actively involved as ‘project ambassadors’ when the show visits their home city.