SKINS & PUNKS: LOST ARCHIVES 1978-1985

What started off as a small collection of photographs 14 year old Gavin Watson took of his family and friends in Wycombe, middle England, has grown into one of the most important and influential photographic books of the last 20 years, Skins. Skins & Punks is a singular retrospective complete with commentaries and oral histories. The stories behind the images are shocking, hilarious, brutal and heartbreaking and truly get behind the truth of growing up in the working classes in the 1980s.

Watson photographed from the inside, the only member of a provincial and isolated gang with a camera, only occasionally aware that his friends were part of a larger moment…. Some of his photographs are funny, some are tender, some are domestic. Many of them show skinheads smiling, others display a great vulnerability: young boys struggling for their place in an adult world. If there is aggression it is playful and uncertain. And in the background sits an unbeautified England of the 80s, a harsh depiction of extreme disunity.
— The Observer
I was never a documentary photographer. I was just photographing my mates, it wasn’t deliberate, other people give me that label.
— Gavin Watson