Visible Girls: Revisited

17 Nov 2017 – 21 Dec 2017

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Exeter Phoenix Gallery

Exeter, United Kingdom

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Visible Girls: Revisited, is a photography commission and national travelling exhibition of female portraits by photographer Anita Corbin. The exhibition brings together original images of women from different subcultures of the early 1980s and newly commissioned portraits of the same women now.


The work will reunite women with their adolescent selves, exploring the ways in which photography can reveal and reflect upon identity and society at various stages of women's lives.  

In 1981, as a young female photographer at the beginning of her career, Corbin made 28 double portraits of young women from different cultural groups: skins, mods, punks, rockabillies, new romantics, rastas and young lesbians. She was fascinated by the ways in which cultural allegiance and identity were boldly and explicitly expressed through fashion, music and environment by women emerging from adolescence. Captured in their natural hangouts of clubs, pubs, friends’ homes and social centres, these girls were living in the moment and dreaming of the future. The groundbreaking project, Visible Girls, toured the UK in the 80s and 90s, showing in youth clubs, town halls and libraries. The images are a rarity for the time, not only because of their subjects but because of the photographer's technical approach using slow colour film and portable flash.

Last year Corbin launched an international social media campaign in order to track the women down.

Now, 36 years later and with over 75% of the women found, the original images of those young women will be displayed alongside a new series - of the women they became. 

Alongside the images will be original tape recordings of interviews with some of the girls from 1981 and interviews with them now. Exclusive to the Exeter, Phoenix exhibition, the sound recordings will be staged in a recreated girl’s bedroom from the 1980s. Individual stories behind each image will be revealed, exploring how the women's lives have changed since the original shot was taken. What has happened in those 36 years? Have their lives developed as they imagined? How have changes in society and its attitudes to women affected them?

What to expect? Toggle


Tory Turk

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Anita Corbin


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