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PYZINE is a new dynamic youth culture webzine showcasing a diverse breadth of photographic and written talent from within the extensive archive of PYMCA and beyond.

Teddy Boys and Modern Youth

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©Ted Polhemus/PYMCA

The cultural feedback that has ensued from Teddy Boy culture is really seeing a resurgence within current trends, and at PYMCA we love to notice the way culture recycles and appropriates.

The Teddy Boys were an underestimated, powerful youth movement erupted out of a society forever changed by the throws of WW2. With a newly acquired sense of freedom alongside the beginnings of an importantly intimate cultural relationship with the United States of America, the British modern working-class youth began to dress in a way that mimicked the simple regal cuts of Edwardian fashion combined with the bluesy taint of American bolo ties and straight cut trousers.

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©Janette Beckman/PYMCA

British Working Class teenage Teddy Boys began to emerge from some of the poorer parts of Britain such as a bleak Elephant and Castle in South London and later from the dilapidated mining towns of the north. Such sincere and recognisable style began to pave the way for the beginning of a teenage identity in Britain, not only marking the beginning of stylised youth groups, but the beginning of the teenager as a concept.

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©Janette Beckman/PYMCA

Prior to WW2, children were expected to immediately spring into adulthood, and could it be a  combination of a post-war jaded state alongside a progressive attitude to societal values that ignited a new phase, uniquely rebellious in style, to the life of a Western youth?

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Simon Buckle/PYMCA

The Teddy Boy staple, the ‘crepe sole’ paired with a thin legged trouser, has been recycled time and time again into the ensuing Rockabilly culture, later in the 1970s with the Punks, had a brief stint with 90s Grunge, and now enjoys an explosively popular resurgence amongst an Indie/Soft Grunge/Seapunk crowd of the 2010s.

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©2013 UNDERGROUND

Its not only the creeper that manages to perpetually resurge with its timeless style, the very notion of wearing an adult’s suit at such a young age has a sense of rebellion in itself. Teddy Boys often wore suits that were clearly oversized, with largely over-padded shoulders and waistlines that crept up to the chest. This stance paved the way for Rockabilly, Punk and Psychobilly tribes in times to come.

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©Mr Hartnett/PYMCA

The Teddy Boys represent not only a style choice, but an important tectonic shift in the world of self expression and youth. Without their boldness of thought or their relentless self assurance, the birth of the teenager may never have never manifested into the coagulating mass of creativity and self expression that it remains today.

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© Cry Baby, 1990

Looking Back: Rave Culture

As summer solstice has just flown by, at PYMCA we’re taking a nostalgic look into the eclectic body of 80s and 90s Rave photography in our archive. From the early illegal raves, to the short-lived late 2000s revival of ‘Nu-Rave’, the work harks back to a unique era of mass congregation, bold fashion statements, and unparalleled euphoria.

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Clubbers dancing outdoors, Amnesia II Courtyard, Ibiza 1989 © David Swindells/PYMCA

The photographic work that ensued from rave culture represented an era of young photographers vibrantly compelled to document the wonders of a drastic new youth movement. Born out of the exotic 80s cool of Ibiza, the rave scene exploded from the Balearics and relentlessly stained British shores with neon paint.

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5am at Tribal Dance rave M25 Orbital, East Grinstead, UK August 1989 © David Swindells/PYMCA

Spreading from the famed and notorious Ibiza clubs ‘Ku’ and ‘Pasha’, the rave scene took on a life of its own. Powered by a powerful mass of enthused teens, illegal raves littered the breadth of the country from abandoned mines, warehouses and from underneath the M25 Orbital.

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Sweaty ravers on the dance floor at Joy Shoom club London July 1988 © David Swindells/PYMCA

This era represented a time where club culture took a real hold on the musical mainstream, and where young people really felt they could not only take the new music, but the venues into their own hands. The scene –  powerfully flavoured by the carefree spirit of the Hippies, and tainted with endearingly garish bright colour, made its way towards London’s flagging club scene – igniting noturious venue’s such as ‘Shoom’ it its path. Shoom used the famed ‘Smiley’ logo which went on to become a universal sign of rave culture.

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Trip with Aciid t-shirt Trip acid house club night the Astoria London 1988 © David Swindells/PYMCA

Even after the demise of Rave, Acid-House and Ecstacy, rave culture continued to change the club scene forever. Its unforgettable substance fuelled out of body/mind experiences left a mark on modern day clubbing attitudes, and even spawned its own short lived doppelgänger in the late 2000s, Nu Rave.

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A girl in Nu Rave styles. Anti-social 24.03.2007. Bar Music Hall, London. © Mr Hartnett/PYMCA

Youth Fashion: Ever Emerging

Dazed and Conufused have recently written an article on Berlin-based British filmmaker Matt Lambert as he begins to create a fantastic body of video surrounding fashion and its relationship as an integral ingredient to youth culture. The idea behind his work inspires us to have a think about our own archive and the way fashion has driven youth expression in a way like no other. Check out the video here.

Rocker at the Ace Cafe re-union Croydon London UK 1990's © Simon Buckle/PYMCA

Rocker at the Ace Cafe re-union Croydon London UK 1990’s © Simon Buckle/PYMCA

At PYMCA our breadth of imagery documents both the darkest and brightest corners of society and youth culture, really examining the many societal, political and psychological boundaries that ‘youth’ infliltrates. Matt Lambert’s work is beginning to shed a new light on the way we perceive fashion in society particularly in relation to youth and a now given sense of personal style. His video provides a refreshing approach to the formulaic world of fashion photography and seem to reveal a glipse into the  intimacy of the wearer.

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Two twins, Chuka & Dubem, in Ska, Rude boy styles, London 1981 © Janette Beckman/PYMCA

Never merely a materialistic commodity, fashion has played an integral role in the pure essence of youth culture emerging from a post-war world. The very liberty of self expression has informed and dominated modern society proving both burdensome and invigorating –  allowing youth to exploit the contextual medley of media to reproduce and appropriate style throughout history without the constraints of a pre-war predominantly religious society. With the new romantics harking back to the regal flamboyance of the 17th century, and the punks metaphorically setting fire to any traceable reference, youth culture has seen an explosive and stubbornly progressive path over recent years.

New Age Traveller with blue extensions and tie-dye clothing, London 1980's © Ted Polhemus/PYMCA

New Age Traveller with blue extensions and tie-dye clothing, London 1980’s © Ted Polhemus/PYMCA

St. Moritz club. Stevie Stewart and Robert Elms. 1980. © Graham Smith/PYMCA

St. Moritz club. Stevie Stewart and Robert Elms. 1980. © Graham Smith/PYMCA

As our archive continues to increase, the complex jigsaw of youth culture continues to grow, providing an ever broader insight into the real foundations of our zeitgeist. Current mass growth both economically and socially in Asia and Africa anticipates a boom in newly emerging youth groups overseas and at PYMCA we expect to see a fantastic cultural cauldron over the next few years. Exciting times for youth culture.  What do you think will be next?

Two young girls dressed in Hello Kitty merchandise, Tokyo, Japan, 2000. ©Ben Knight/PYMCA

Two young girls dressed in Hello Kitty merchandise, Tokyo, Japan, 2000. ©Ben Knight/PYMCA

PYMCA Introduces Graham Smith – ‘We Can Be Heroes – Punks, Poseurs, Peacocks and People of a Particular Persuasion’

With it’s imposing presence, PYMCA introduces the fantastic, highly significant work of Graham Smith. Harking back to the early 1980s, Graham’s work represents a time fuelled by the ferocious angst of the recent punk years. Embodying a transition into the New Romantic era, Graham documented the emergence of a colourful and expressive movement in youth culture.

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© Graham Smith

Star spangled with recognisable faces, Graham documents the early days of fame for the scene’s key performers including Spandau Ballet, Boy George and Sade, whilst vigorously creating album artwork and flyers for many London clubs.

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© Graham Smith

Graham celebrated his 50th birthday by mustering years of prestigious work into the book We Can Be Heroes – Punks, Poseurs, Peacocks and People of a Particular Persuasion. London Clubland, 1976-84. Published by Unbound via crowd funding. Based around 500 photographs, he rounded up its leading protagonists – with an introduction by Robert Elms, contributions from Boy George, Gary Kemp and Steve Strange alongside Chris Sullivan’s hilarious main texts.

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© Graham Smith

Graham interviewed over 50 of the leading faces; generating over 500 quotes, playlists from all the 80s club DJs, carefully combined with original graphics – compiling a viscous cauldron of memorabilia galore. His book creates a definitive tale of this fascinating and influential period, cementing it into our rich social history of youth culture.

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© Graham Smith

Graham is now a freelance magazine art director and married with two grown-up children living in Bushey, Hertfordshire. He still likes a dance.

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© Graham Smith

Check out Graham’s wonderfully extensive work in PYMCA; available for licensing to add unique character to that perfect project, click here.

Buy Graham’s Book ‘We Can Be Heroes – Punks, Poseurs, Peacocks and People of a Particular Persuasion’ on Amazon here.

Unseen Rolling Stones Photography Discovered

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© Eric Swayne

When British Photographer Eric Swayne died in 2007, he left behind a box containing the negatives to a series of prestigious cultural gems documenting the Rolling Stones alongside a plethora of  imagery from the swinging 60s, previously unseen.

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© Eric Swayne

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© Eric Swayne

Scanned and remastered from negatives for the first time, Eric’s work will be on display in Chelsea’s Proud Gallery in an extensive exhibition titled “The Stones and their Scene” from 13th June – 28th July 2013.

Check out the full series here.

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