The London-born photographer discusses his new book of archival photos chronicling UK skinhead culture of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
Born in 1965 on a council estate in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, the photographer Gavin Watson grew up during the first wave of skinhead culture, a youth subculture motivated by social alienation and suffering from the egregious socioeconomic divide between the working and middle classes. Following a short stint at school, Watson returned to London as the second wave of the movement was taking shape. He began taking photos of his younger brother and his group of skinhead friends, the Wycombe Skins. Unintentionally he was capturing scenes the rest of the world was not privy to. Previously some of these photos appeared in his books Skins and Skins and Punks, this May he releases the latest collation of his shots, Oh What Fun We Had!. Featuring these never before seen, more intimate photos, the book serves to disrupt the notion of what skinheads were. Today he calls in from London to speak with Vivian about the task of shifting public perception and some of the key moments in the movement’s history.