photographic index

ba digital photography london south bank university

Nikki Goodban


 Girls, Girls, Girls
 Nikki Goodban
inkjet photographic print
 A response to the relationship between youth cultures and popular culture commodities such as music and fashion. Image completed May 2007. Made in response to Anita Corbin’s photographic series ‘Visible Girls’. Girls subcultures box held at the London South Bank University, London. A series of 3 images.
 Girls, Subcultures
Measurements: 29.7×42cm
Location: London South Bank University Digital Photography Dept

ID Number: PI-RGSB-NGP001- NGP003

Licensing: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales, Nicola Goodban c/o London South Bank University, Digital Photography Course, UK

For my subcultures photographic essay I have decided to produce a series of several shots of which will explore the relationship of a particular subculture in which I am surrounded by on a regular bases. The series of shots were to be taken from my perspective and how I see the girls. As a result this will also be a representation on a more on a personal level. I also wanted my shots to be a somewhat visual study on the girl’s culture.

To lead me into this I having taken my main source of context from photographer Anita Corbin. This was during the period of looking into her 1981 “Girls Subculture” box, of which we then digitalised online. Whilst working and studying her work I had realised that she had produced shots that had captured the essence of girl’s subculture at that particular time within Britain. Corbin’s concept of location for each shot I felt was necessary to take across within my work. This is mainly because I feel that it sets a strong visual backdrop in explaining each subject and their subculture in more precise detailed manner.

The aim within all of my photographs is to demonstrate how such elements as music and fashion have formed this kind of stylistic feature for these girls to fall into a particular subculture. I want for my photographs to act as a reflection on the study of female youth subculture and show how these girls have became an integral feature of everyday British life.

When given this assignment I knew straight away the particular kind of shots and models I wanted to work with. I knew that I wanted to capture something in every shot which would demonstrate to the viewer that the subject is heavily influenced by that of fashion and music, and in some cases other cultures. And how this “look” as gone onto becoming a mass culture for commercial process.

What is meant here is that not just these girls, but this selective subculture as a whole appears to very much buy into this particular genre of subculture and its way of expression without fully understanding the linguistics behinds its distinctive elements, that of “music and style”. As a result I feel that it makes the girls become the essence of that of media construction, in terms of the style in which they reflect is very much seen as the style to which we should all be wearing, by seeing such styles threw the media and celebrities endorsing.

One thing I have personally always noticed with this particular subculture, especially on nights out is that these groups of girls tend to construct the impression that they are “big” on music when in fact they don’t have the slightest idea of what real music is really about. Their fore to me it always appears that they dress in order to conform to this highly recognizable culture of what we are witnessing these days threw out the likes of girls, especially with the likes of younger and easily influenced girls.

This to me seems ironic in a sense that personally I don’t feel the need to present myself, in terms of style, in this particular way in order to label myself into a particular subculture. I tend to live that up to my bedroom to form what I am about. This would lead onto me exampling the reason behind each shot being located in the subject’s bedroom.

It had seemed only necessary that the girl’s bedroom would be the ideal location. This is because I have always felt that bedrooms are seen as personal space for individuals in terms of they act like a blank canvas which invites you to decorate their walls in anyway you care. Therefore this particular setting adds to the whole aspect of the pieces being on very much a personal level as the subject’s room form part of the subject’s identity. This as a result will also bring more of a visual understanding into the girls’ subculture.

Another reason behind the bedroom location is because since we were to reinterpret Anita Corbin’s box I thought that it was only necessary that after seeing her work, that it would make sense to have my own shots located in the subjects bedroom.

By having each shot Staged it brings more structure and control to each piece. This is because it enables me like, Anita Corbin’s work, to say what I want each of them to say. I have complete control over the conveyance of my subjects. However at the same time the shots all so tells you more about the subjects and what their influences are.

Within these shots it is evitable to see that both the global and local movement of both music and fashion are the key factor within the girl’s identity. This I believe to be very similar to the work of Corbin as her shots consist of several different subcultures of girls at that one time being shown exactly how they are, and how they appear from and outsiders few looking in.

Within both Corbin’s and my own work I would like to feel that it is obvious that all of the girls dress to make a visual statement as to who they are. It would appear on a deeper level that these girls seem to somewhat crave to be noticed and seen as being original. However throughout the time I have spent on this project, especially when I was taken my shots I have came to realise that even though these girls would like to look “different” too me they seem anything but. This due to the fact that they are purely dressing in this way in order to belong to a particular subculture. Therefore their doses not seem to be any sense of originality as I see it.

This scene has became an attitude of mass consumption as their scene becomes more exploited threw the media. However saying this, with Anita Corbin’s shots her subjects seemed to hold a kind of genuine narrative identity in the sense that you can see this kind of authenticity within them, by the way that they dressed. They respond exactly to what it was like so many years ago. It would seem that with my models they all seem to look like a more modern and contemporary vision of the fashion original subcultures that existed in the 80’s in throughout the Britain.

It would seem so that subcultures these days is seen as a device in which can make you more visible within society and that the general idea of subcultures is to separate yourself from the wider society. It is seen as a means of escaping from the bore of everyday life and its peoples; it would appear that the girls hold this form of resistance to fit into the “norm”.

These girls see an escape route, that of constructing an alternative lifestyle. The girls are very much a style-based culture of who have resulted in becoming an integral feature of everyday British social life. And this is exactly what I wanted to hopefully convey within my pieces. That when people look at the photographs they will be able to identify with not only possibly being part of this subculture but also to the fact of recognising this subculture as being apart of the British scene of present day.

The overall appearance of my work I wanted to fall into the category of a visual documentary of these girls’ responses to music and style. They all seem to hold the appearance of the “all dressed up and nowhere to go”.

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