I have (temporarily) left the 1960s (gasp!) and started work on a new series based in the early 1990s. It takes for its subject the Riot Grrrl phenomenon that centered around a number of female-oriented punk bands in the USA and UK, such as Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Huggy Bear. All these bands were politically-conscious and functioned as cultural activists, bringing feminist ideas and ideals to a youthful audience who might otherwise have been focused solely on the music and fashions of a particular genre or scene. A whole DIY culture that included meetings and fanzines grew out of the movement and a documentary called the Punk Singer was recently made about its most visible and perhaps most vocal proponent, Kathleen Hanna (lead singer of Bikini Kill). If you haven’t heard of Riot Grrrl, you need to see this film and have your mind blown by just what can be achieved by a small group of politically-literate people with vision, strength and determination.
Rather than produce a fictional overview of the movement, I decided to produce a story about a number of girl friends influenced by the Riot Grrrl movement. I’ve used a group of girls who all have interests in punk or feminism to some degree in my local area of Brighton, and have started out taking their portraits before moving into more complex staged scenes (portraits below). The finished series will incorporate large tableau type images featuring some or all of the girls together, still life scenes and more intimate interior scenes of the girls individually. The portraiture is the easy part. Props have nearly all arrived for the hard stuff and it’s time to get to work. Hoping to be finished by mid-November if possible. More news to come!