Thursday, 15 May 2008

George Plemper

From here

Thamesmead #7 ~1980, originally uploaded by Mak'm.

Wonderful atmospheric photos from the 70s.
The clothes bring back painful memories of the lack of any sartorial style around at that time. Any revival could not possible hope to reflect the lack of choice for young teenagers. It is no wonder we all looked the same, every look lingered for months just like the clothes in the shops, you were lucky to get 4 collections a year.I have memories of Bus Stop and Chelsea Girl but little else.

Compare this to the choice of not only shops but actual clothes my children have and who would ever want to go back? I was luckier than most though, because through natural curiosity and a desire to look different I would trawl the upper levels of the Victorian arcades in Leeds as well as make a bee-line for the iconic Boodle-am and mix with charity shop finds, I may not have looked any better but I felt better.
The photographs were taken where the film Clockwork Orange was set, it was, and to a certain extent still is, a desolate place. The estate floats like a lost spaceship over scrubby wasteland and it is only 30 years later, a whole generation, that the rest of the area has stared to close in. Nasty little cheap Barrett houses that sit low to the ground only serve to highlight the awkwardness of Thamesmead. They have been promising a Thames crossing for years but I suspect they are worried that if they do everyone will leave and never come back.

One final thought.

Can you imagine any teacher, especially male, being allowed to do this kind of photography now? This record of photographs built up over a long period of time is an amazing achievement, and one that would be deemed an act of paedophilia in today's society (you only have to look at the response to Sally Manns work to see the kind of hysteria that bubbles under the surface) It is such a shame, I suspect most historians will have to refer to photographs from Facebook and videos from You Tube to get a flavour of those adolescent years, but they will all lack the cohesiveness and particular eye that someone like Plemper can bring to this subject matter


materfamilias said...

Wonderful photographs. Perhaps because I grew up in a small provincial city, though, I remember the 70s as an expansion of possibilities, sartorial and otherwise. Perhaps because I was moving into the adult world then, earning money, buying and making my own clothes -- and, within that decade, beginning to buy and make my kids' clothes. In retrospect, of course, the choices seem limited, but at the time, I don't remember feeling that at all. (I also did much supplementation with second-hand clothing)
btw, I'm struck by how well you write, much as I know you worry about punctuation and the like.

indigo16 said...

Oh the bloody punctuation, it is the bane of my life. But i am trying to improve, although it is a bit random!

Rollergirl said...

Fantastic! Similar to the work Joseph Szabo did in America... how did you find out about him? Has he had any press?

La Belette Rouge said...

The photos are really beautiful. For some reason they make me think of that movie, yikes--what is the name, "The Knack and How to Get It." Have you seen it?

Speaking of photographs of adolescents, have you seen Lauren Greenfields's book of photographs of adolescent girls? It is extraordinary. She also did a very compelling documentary on girls with eating disorders called "Thin." It is definitely worth seeing.

miss milki said...

Brilliant find! That photo of the first girl looks so sad. I look forward to browsing his flickr stream.

Clare Horton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
indigo16 said...

He was in the Guardian, he is an example of the power of Flickr for photographers generating interest for their work.
LBR Lauren Greenfield is new to me, but I will check it out, it sounds good for my photography girls.
The first photo is the one the V&A bought, how lovely to say "my work is in the V&A"

diana @ please sir said...

Lovely work - thanks for sharing!