Tuesday, 29 March 2011 As I trawl back through my archive, I often come across photographs I don't specifically recall taking.
The above being just one example. It was taken on Southend Seafront during the Spring Bank Holiday in 1979. I'd come down on the train from London with a group of about 50 skinheads but I found ample time during the day to wander round and photograph other young people. Such as a group of rock n' roll fans (in those days often known as either 'rockers' or 'teds') assembled outside the Minerva pub, next to the Kursaal amusement park.
The young girls in the photograph look to me to be about 14. One of them has a badge on her jacket that reads 'Vintage Rock & Roll Appreciation Society.' She also had the words 'teds' written on both shoes. Even in 1979 they must have seemed awfully young to be fans of music genre which was at it peak in the late '50s.
I'm very pleased I took photographs like this at that time but I'd certainly think twice about doing so now. These days, the overly protective spirit of the times doesn't seem particularly conducive to photographing young people one doesn't know in the street.
How would modern society treat great photographers like Cartier-Bresson, Bert Hardy, Diane Arbus and Robert Doisneau, who all made a good part of their careers out of photographing kids and young people in the street?
I don't really know but I fear it would be a lot harder now than it was when they were alive.