Retro photos show the lighter side of Britain's skinhead culture of the 1970s and 80s

STUNNING retro photographs glimpse life inside British Skinhead subculture of the 1970s and 80s.

Snapper Gavin Watson’s pictures show how a working class group often associated with right-wing extremism bonded over Jamaican-ska music and were racially inclusive.

His book Oh! What Fun We Had – named after the chorus of legendary Madness hit Baggy Trousers – show young skinheads in council estates in High Wycombe.

Born in 1965, Watson spent his youth taking photographs of his younger brother and their friends showing the lighter side of the much-maligned subculture.

Speaking with Another Man, he said: “I didn’t want to be a rebel; I wanted to be normal.

“I was a shy, sensitive child that wanted to be an artist, but I just felt I didn’t have much of a choice in the environment I was growing up in, which was extremely violent.'

“I didn't want the pictures to show that. I never photographed any fighting or the grief that poverty brings.

“I didn't want to photograph the abuse and the violence. It was part of my everyday life.”

He added: “The politics of the music started me on this journey. I became a skinhead because of Two-tone music, where blacks and whites came together. We had grown up with all the West Indian kids.”


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