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. Q&A: Olivia Crighton

    Having hit the five year mark since Glasshouse Salon launched in 2013, we sat down with our founder, Olivia Crighton, to help you get to know her a little more, covering everything from her personal journey into natural and organic beauty, to balancing business and motherhood.

    More +
  2. Kickstarter Campaign: Glasshouse Hair, Hand & Body Wash

    ​We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for the launch of our first ever Glasshouse product. Designed to minimise consumption and waste, Glasshouse Hair, Hand & Body Wash is a luxury, multi-use cleanser made with organic ingredients - and we want you to be involved in making it a reality.

    More +
  3. Q&A: Henri London

    Simultaneously comfortable and chic, Henri London’s collection of ​sustainably made women’s shirts is our latest local find in Hackney. We spoke to founder Henrietta about the inspiration behind the brand and the importance of ethical fashion.

    More +
  4. Zero-Waste Beauty

    We’re delving into the world of zero-waste beauty and the simple ways in which we can reduce the environmental output of our beauty cupboard. From plastic alternatives to bulk buy markets, here are some eco-friendly solutions that don’t compromise on quality or design.

    More +
  5. Photography: Latoya van der Meeren

    ​Amsterdam-based photographer Latoya van der Meeren has got us transfixed with her honest pictures of pregnancy, motherhood and life on the road. We sat down with her to find out more.

    More +
  6. Beauty Buzz: Lilac Lids

    From lilac to mauve, violet to plum, purple eyeshadow is the surprising new trend that’s caught our attention this season. Here are some of our favourite ways to add a little of the regal colour to your look.

    More +
  7. Reads: Sisters by Sophie Harris-Taylor

    Photographer Sophie Harris-Taylor is known for her raw, intimate approach to taking pictures, and her latest release is no exception. Sisters visually tells the stories of over 70 sets of sisters, who Sophie has spent time interviewing and capturing in front of the lens, putting together a picture of sisterhood at it’s most honest.

    More +
  8. Bathroom Detox: Natural Deodorant

    Have you ever considered what makes your deodorant work? We take an in-depth look at the daily staple and the naturally based alternatives that effectively neutralise body odour without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

    More +
  9. Makeup Bag Overhaul

    Considering switching up your go-to makeup products in favour of natural and organic brands? We have salon service that might be just the ticket - a one-on-one consultation with a trained makeup expert for products recommendations personalised to you!

    More +
  10. Minimalism in Beauty

    Minimalism isn’t just for your homes and wardrobes - your bathroom cabinet can benefit from focusing on quality over quantity as well. We explore the move towards double-duty beauty; an ecological, practical and no-compromise solution to get your makeup bag working harder.

    More +
  11. Masterclass: Heatless Styling

    ​As summer rolls in, we’re embracing the warmer weather and abandoning our heated styling tools. With the help of Senior Stylist Ashleigh, we’ve put together our top tips on heatless styling for each hair type. Whether you have tight curls or poker straight hair, these are the products and techniques to use to get your best air-dried look.

    More +
  12. Happenings: rubbish_1 at Soft Opening

    With the topic of plastic waste high on the global agenda, we’re turning to art to join in on the conversation. Photographer Harley Weir has partnered with poet Wilson Oryema to create a powerful body of work that addresses human plastic consumption.

    More +
  13. Glasshouse x Alexa Coe

    ​We launch a collaboration with London based illustrator Alexa Coe. Inspired by her favourite products from Glasshouse Shop, the collection includes six original artworks in Alexa’s signature style, available to purchase exclusively on the Shop.

    More +
  14. Q&A: Blästa Henriët

    Combining Scandinavian design with natural remedies, lifestyle brand Blästa Henriët is putting a modern twist on a traditional Swedish wheat packs or ‘Vetekudde’. We sat down with Lo Blästa to discuss her love for linen and the inspiration behind the collection.

    More +
  15. Meet The Glasshouse Team

    Ever wondered about the team behind Glasshouse Salon? Well, we’re introducing every Glasshouse girl properly in this special meet the team feature. Come say hi!

    More +
  16. Hair Trend: Micro Fringe

    Fringes have gone mini. Short, daring and sitting high above the brow, the micro fringe is our latest Hair Trend love. Find out why this style isn’t as scary as you might think.

    More +
Load more posts