Anita Corbin: Visible Girls Revisited

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Friday, 7 July 2017 to Friday, 11 August 2017
Thursday, 6 July 2017 - 6:00pm
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Visible Girls: Revisitedis a new photography commission and national travelling exhibition of female portraits by photographer Anita Corbin. The exhibition brings together original images of women from different subcultures of the early 1980s and newly commissioned portraits of the same women now. 

The work will reunite women with their adolescent selves, exploring the ways in which photography can reveal and reflect upon identity and society at various stages of women's lives.    

In 1981, as a young female photographer at the beginning of her career, Corbin made 28 double portraits of young women from different cultural groups: skins, mods, punks, rockabillies, new romantics, rastas and young lesbians. She was fascinated by the ways in which cultural allegiance and identity were boldly and explicitly expressed through fashion, music and environment by women emerging from adolescence. Captured in their natural hangouts of clubs, pubs, friends’ homes and social centres, these girls were living in the moment and dreaming of the future. The groundbreaking project, Visible Girls, toured the UK in the 80s and 90s, showing in youth clubs, town halls and libraries. The images are a rarity for the time, not only because of their subjects but because of the photographer's technical approach using slow colour film and portable flash.

 Last year Corbin launched an international social media campaign in order to track the women down. Now, 36 years later and with over 70% of the women found, the original images of those young women will be displayed alongside a new series - of the women they became.

Anita Corbin says: This exhibition is not only about the powerful bond between women united by subculture, belief and friendship, but about the potential of women coming together across generations. Visible Girls: Revisited, allows the ‘visibility’ of youth to shine a light on the often-disregarded wisdom of the older woman, revealing a unique, cross-generational tribe with the power to provoke and inspire. Visible Girls: Revisited is an exhibition where mothers and daughters will find mutually provocative ground through which to forge a rare solidarity - that at this point in our history we need more than ever.

Alongside the images will be original tape recordings of interviews with some of the girls from 1981 and interviews with them now. The individual stories behind each image will be revealed, exploring how the women's lives have changed since the original shot was taken. What has happened in those 36 years? Have their lives developed as they imagined? How have changes in society and its attitudes to women affected them?

The 56 women who feature in the images were mainly from London but some were on a day trip or on holiday in the city when Corbin photographed them, many are now living in Europe or further afield. The exhibition will tour England - each location will have a unique presentation inspired by the voice of the city. 

Do you know any of these Visible Girls? The search continues for the remaining 30% of the missing subjects - join us on social media and help us find them #VisibleGirls.

An events programme of talks, workshops and masterclasses announced by each venue will accompany the exhibition.


Anita Corbin

Anita began her photography career in the early ’80s with her now internationally acclaimed Visible Girls series. A graduate of the Royal College of Art and finalist in the Sunday Times/Nikon scholarship of 1981, she then spent 15 years covering “human interest” stories for the The Sunday Times and The Observer magazines and commissions for a wide range of publications followed, her portfolio includes portraiture, annual report photography for award-winning design consultancies, and public sector documentary work for housing charities, health trusts and The British Council. Her editorial portraiture includes iconic shots of Bob Hoskins, Joely Richardson, Peter O’Toole, Alan Bennett and Mica Paris. The National Portrait Gallery in London has, to date, purchased 20 of her photographs for the national archive. Her legacy project First Women U.K. 100 portraits of women who are first in their chosen field, photographed between 2009 -2016 will be launched in 2018 to celebrate one hundred years of women's suffrage



 87 Princes Avenue, HULL, HU5 3QP.

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