HOT exhibition - Noughtie Nightlife!

10 September 2010

If you have time in the next couple of weeks, and you are around in London – might we suggest that you make a beeline for Rich Mix Theatre in Bethnal Green Road?

There you will find an absolutely wicked exhibition of photography – documenting the colourful yet sweaty round the edges world of London’s fashion nightclubbers. Taken over the decade at various very modish locations (Kash Point, Nag Nag Nag and Wet Yourself among others) by the young gun photographers like Billa, Chris James of We Know What You Did Last Night and the man who got the exhibition of the ground himself, London College of Fashion’s Antony Price.

 

After having the bright idea of putting on the exhibition, he was then faced with the task of trawling through tens of thousands (!) of pics, and we met up with him for a quick chat about the results. . . . .  

How does your time as a club photographer fit into your career? At the beginning, or all the way through?

All the way through really, I started out just as a clubber, then I became a DJ as well, then I’ve also taken a lot of pictures in clubs because I go to a lot of them. Then I started teaching photography at London College of Fashion, and noticed that my students, who are a generation below me were all obsessed with these clubbing websites – Dirty Dirty Dancing, We Know What you Did Last Night and Mega Mega Mega – on a Monday morning that is all they wanted to do – check the website and see if they were on there. So I found out about it that way and realised what a big deal it is for kids to be photographed while they’re out – not just for facebook and for their friends but for these other sites too!

 

How do the people in these images function as a subculture or scene, in themselves?

Well, I really wouldn’t say it’s one scene. All the clubs that these pictures were taken in are quite different in terms of music, atmosphere and clientele. I would say that the common factor is the internet side to it – the tagging, sharing of pictures and obsessing about looking at yourself and your friends in pictures after the events.

Being seen out at clubs and then afterwards on the internet is like a form of fame to these kids. You can work in Tescos or in a bank during the week but out at clubs on the weekend you can be a celebrity in your own right.

What would you say to people who complain that this generation of clubbers are so caught up in having their picture taken, and what they look like that they’re too busy to enjoy themselves as much as people did before digital photography?

I would say they are right! This exhibition is all about that – look at these people – look at the phenomenon of club photographers, their websites, and the people who are so into posing and just see it for what it is! This might be a bit of a narcissistic culture we live in, but it is what it is!

Noughtie Nightlife is showing at Rich Mix, London from the September 9 to October 2.


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