Skins by Gavin Watson
(Independent Music Publishers)

Many of us view skinhead culture with a nervous twist in our stomachs; whether it be the gangs of youths hanging around street corners, the football firms or the racist skins who tried to appropriate the look for their own highly dubious ends, it is easy to see why skinheads have received a bad press.

This is something Gavin Watson's book seeks to put right.

Watson, himself short of hair, saved up to buy a camera when he was 13 and started mucking around snapping pictures of his mates. Now, 25 years later, this famous collection (just re-released with scores of new shots) has become one of the best and most important books about youth culture and fashion ever published.

Watson is a very talented photographer - the number of tones he manages to get out of a black and white film is incredible - and his work shows the reality behind the popular cliché. His pictures are in turn funny, scary, tender, vulnerable, contradictory, violent and arrogant - just like the people they depict. They are also notably multicultural; Watson says, racism was not a general part of the skinhead culture - in fact it grew out of a love of West Indian music, a love affair Two Tone was soon to restate.

This is a fine book of photos which will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in youth culture and fashion in Britain over the past 40 years.

Buy it direct here, watch the promotional video here and see some of Gavin Watson's work here.

Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T

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