Memories of Years and Years of Memories – A New Collection from Mark Charnock

PYMCA is proud to announce a stunning new collection of work by Mark Charnock which documents the teenage lives of himself and his friends over a 12 year period.

The images are an intimate portrayal of growing up in West London suburbia and also showcase excursions into central London and the excitement of visiting the attractions in the capital.

As you look through the images you become immersed in Mark’s friends lives and after viewing the shots you feel as if you have come to know the group intimately and shared in their experiences and relationships as they grow up from school children through to university students and their lives beyond.

On bikes in Greenford Alley, UK 1980

Mark explains his background:

“I was born and raised on the Central line, West Ruislip branch, Greenford to be precise.
My Dad worked on the Underground and with this came a shiny privilege card for offspring which provided free travel.  So exploring around London was relieved of its financial burden.  My overview of London came from the tube map which like my childhood knowledge of town was not entirely geographically accurate, but it got me and my friends from A to B and gave us a good idea of where things were happening and where excitement might lay.

On some of these trips i took my first camera, a boots instamatic on which i recorded our fun and exploration in rather drab 70s colour and with lots of camera shake, but despite the lack of skill on my part, i was hooked.”

Teenage friends, UK 1980

“By the time i severed my links with education, and having experienced a dark room environment during a summer job at The Times, i took my first full time position at a photographic lab in Welbeck street W1. Just like my Dads job with the privilege card , this came with the added bonus of cheap paper and chemistry to bring the images i was now taking on my Uncles 20 year old Yushica camera, to life.”

Bending bars, UK 1980

“Now photographically set, i recorded most of our 1980’s superficial events like parties and holidays, but also without planning to, mapped in monochrome friends growing from kids to adults and our relationships with others and with the sprawling magnificence that is our capital.

One of my vivid memories of those days is not the events or times when the shots were taken, but the gathering together to paw over the prints and the scramble to see who looked coolest or who cut the best pose.  Then the scrummage to grab one, that with the use of blue tack or drawing pins would end up on a teenage bedroom or student digs wall.”

Greenford Station, London 1981

South Lambeth Road, London 1981

“Some images have been reprinted since but the vast majority were printed within days of being shot and despite technical deficiencies or maybe because of them, seem true and real reflections.  I still have most of them in many dusty old photographic paper boxes in the loft.

As a friend once put it  they are both memories of years and years of memories.”

Football header, UK 1979

London subway 1981

Top deck of a bus, London 1981

Loughbourgh Rd, Brixton, 1981

“The images after being half forgotten, have resurfaced 30 years on to both amuse and embarrass the inhabitants of these artefacts and surprise and interest friends made since those days.  Many in the images have moved on and lost contact, others are spread round the country and the globe but return to London every now and then, the rest are still in touch. If there is one thing that can be said about the collection, it is that it is not just a reminder of times past, but that friendships forged back then still survive despite time constraints and pressures from personal and professional responsibilities.

You do not need photogarphs to let you know who your true friends are – but they are a sometimes melancholy, but more often joyous reminder.”

London Wall car park. UK 1980

Girl in blue dressing gown, 1981

London 1982

Dancing in the garden during a party, West London 1983

Click here to see the full collection of Mark’s images.

For information about features of Mark’s work please email

Mark Charnock is #1 in our new Featured Photographer Series


One thought on “Memories of Years and Years of Memories – A New Collection from Mark Charnock

  1. Pingback: Trains, Parties, London | Teenage

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