Happenings: Visible Girls: Revisited at Artlink Hull

Back in 1981, 22-year old photographer Anita Corbin was busy exploring London’s underground scene and capturing its subjects. From punks to new romantics, skinheads to rockabillies, Anita ended up with 28 double portraits that painted a picture of British subculture and was strictly only girls allowed. The photography series toured the country to great acclaim in the 1980s. At the time, subculture was dominated by male faces - it was rare to see a female rasta in the media for instance, despite the fact that the country was awash with young women defying the mainstream. Anita empowered these women and gave them the representation they were missing through her candid photos.

30 years on and the photo collection is back on the radar again and appearing in its own exhibition - Visible Girls: Revisited, which opens at Artlink Hull on 7th July. Anita decided to try and track down some of her original female subjects, most now in their 50’s, to see where they are all these years on and put them behind the lens for second time.

What we love most about Anita’s photos is their honesty and informality. Forget airbrushing and forget stylists, these are raw, untouched depictions of a specific moment in time (and in fashion). The subjects and locations are equally as frank - Karen and Mandy, for example, two punks sporting matching blazers and sat in McDonalds Crystal Palace. Anna and Charlotte sat curled up at home in Southfields wearing green and yellow velour jumpsuits. The images take us on a tour of British suburbia, of pub toilets, street corners, fast food venues - the everyday places that were the playgrounds of some of the wildest looks and attitudes of the 1980s.

In the new exhibition, the collection also contains images of the women now, who have been reunited through Anita’s project. Beginning in Hull and then touring the country, the exhibition will travel through Bristol, Norwich and Exeter amongst others. The aim is to track down the existing 30% of the original Visible Girls who Anita has yet to get back in touch with. Through linking up these women from start to finish, Visible Girls tells a story of British women, London subculture, identity and gender representation.

For us, it’s hard to ignore the hairstyles in Anita’s original photographs. The images pretty much cover every iconic hairstyle of the decade - from perms to mullets, and, of course, skinheads (often worn with a mini, choppy combed-down fringe). The 80’s arguably paved the way for self-expression when it came to hair. A rule-breaking hairstyle became integral to the looks that young women were sporting - whether it was boyish or flamboyant - every style had a deeper meaning was chosen for a reason, not just vanity.

Ultimately, this exhibition is a real treat for anyone with an interest in street style and British culture. A young female photographer capturing young female subjects in everyday environments was (surprisingly) pretty pioneering at the time. The chance to see this kind of photographic history up close is one definitely not to be missed.

Visible Girls: Revisited is showing at Artlink Hull from 7th July until 11th August, before touring the country at different locations. Find out more here.

Words: Lucy Vincent
All images: Anita Corbin

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Winter Renewal: Seasonal Self-Care

    ​As January rolls on and the cold weather continues, we’re looking at a few natural tricks and tips to see you through the month and leave you feeling refreshed and ready for spring. With a little help from two Glasshouse friends and wellbeing experts, we’re reassessing what a new year means - focusing on seasonal self-care instead.

    More +
  2. Hair Musing: Charlotte Gainsbourg

    ​Musician, actress, fashion muse and the daughter of much-loved French couple Serge and Jane, Charlotte Gainsbourg is a woman in her own right. With new music out and a new city to call home, we’ve fallen for her equally as new haircut - think boyish mullet meets 70s rockstar. We dissect the style of our latest hair muse.

    More +
  3. Reads: Well Being by Danielle Copperman

    ​In search of a January pick me up? Well look no further. Danielle Copperman’s new book release Well Being is jam packed with remedies and natural recipes to realign the body and mind. Glasshouse sat down with the polymath to discuss relaxation methods, uplifting experiences and the clean eating debate.

    More +
  4. Glasshouse Salon: How We Get Party Ready

    ​Need some top tips on how to get ready before the big count down this New Year? We have you covered. Find out how we prep for a night out, Glasshouse style.

    More +
  5. A Sustainable Christmas

    What does Christmas mean to you? As the festive season brings us joy once more, we’re asking whether excess and over-consumption could be done in a way that has a better impact on ourselves, the people around us and our planet. We rallied around some of our favourite figures in sustainability to tell us how they’re approaching Christmas in a more conscious way.

    More +
  6. Masterclass: Fine Hair

    Fine hair got you tearing your hair out? Don’t despair! Our senior stylist Mia is here to tackle all things fine hair - from the cuts that suit best, to maintaining condition and picking your styling products wisely, our Masterclass is all you need.

    More +
  7. Abel Odor: 100% Natural Fragrance

    Beautiful fragrance without the synthetic ingredients? Meet Abel - developed by a winemaker with a penchant for scent and a master perfumer, this unique 100% natural fragrance brand is crafted with care and consideration - and just happens to be the latest addition to our Glasshouse shelves and shop. Meet the founder Frances and find out more.

    More +
  8. Introducing: Bessie and Richard of Austin Austin

    Introducing our latest brand launch, Austin Austin: British-made, certified organic products for hair, hands and body. We sat down with the father-daughter duo behind the brand, Richard and Bessie Austin, to talk about sustainability, the organic industry and their idyllic Norfolk home.

    More +
  9. Local Loves: Sans Pere

    Parisian style concept bar, Sans Pere, is the first of its kind catering to dessert fiends and those looking for the perfect evening cocktail. Glasshouse got stuck in to see what’s on the menu.

    More +
  10. The Glasshouse Guide to Mascara

    ​Fluttery, feathery, thick or barely-there: how do you like your mascara? Whichever is your preference, we’ve got a natural and organic option for you and we’re here (with a little help from holistic makeup artist Sjaniel Turrell) to guide you through them.

    More +
  11. Glasshouse Goes Cashless

    Our latest decision has seen us move with the times and put our staff and the security of Glasshouse Salon first. We’ve gone cashless and here’s why.​

    More +
  12. Reads: These Islands

    The creative minds behind Cereal Magazine have joined forces to create a 200+ page hardback book, uncovering the urban and natural landscape that forms the British Isles. Take a trip to discover their powerful imagery, prose and poetry right here.

    More +
  13. Lonely Lingerie: Maternity

    Lonely Lingerie have done it again - this time for women going through pregnancy and motherhood who want style, comfort and functionality (but don’t want to compromise on feel-good-look-good underwear). We learn more about Lonely Maternity.

    More +
  14. Photography: Ronan McKenzie

    At just 22, London photographer Ronan Mckenzie has already made her stamp on the fashion and art scene. Glasshouse sat down with the rising star to discuss personal projects and what makes her tick.

    More +
  15. Bug Clothing x Suzie Howell

    ​One of our favourite local and sustainable designers, Amy Ward of Bug Clothing, has brought us another beautifully curated shoot featuring local makers and pared-back hair and makeup by us here at Glasshouse.

    More +
  16. Work with us at Glasshouse Salon

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We have just the opportunity for you.

    More +
Load more posts