The Others by Derek Ridgers

  • Derek Ridgers' 2015 collection of photographs presents photographs taken in clubs and parties in 1980s London. The title "The Others" came from the name Ridgers had given to the folder on his computer, containing these 100 photographs, simply because they were unpublished elsewhere.

    The title, whilst originally intended to describe the photos themselves, came to describe their subjects. As Ridgers says: "The people in this book are less identifiable as part of a clearly defined youth cult. They are not all punks or skinheads or new romantics: these are the others."

    However, the subjects do not appear to be self-consciously non -conformist; they've made no particular effort to align themselves with punks or skinheads or new romantics, neither have they made any particular effort to set themselves apart from these groups. They are not rebels; rebels consciously contradict the mainstream. The indeterminate individuals Ridgers exposed are disconnected: unheeded and free.

    The photographs were taken over a 3 year period in the 80s, during the rise of Margaret Thatcher, when many young, working class people felt cut adrift and disenfranchised. Under the sweaty roofs of the era's most seminal clubs- such as Le Beat Route, Cha-Cha, Heaven, The Mud Club, and Cafe De Paris - Ridgers finds sanctuaries of self-expression.

    Ridgers' photography is raw and intimate. The pictures expose young, vulnerable characters and intimate moments in the shabby corners. The images showcase a time of sexual liberation: androgynous youths kissing in corners, bare- breasted girls with cropped hair, folorn teens with smudged makeup.

    The viewer feels intrusive looking at Ridgers' collection; the liberty of these youths was permitted because it was private. This was a time before social media, before that perpetual sense of performance. These youths were un-self-conscious and their style was raw and unhindered by social norms.

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