It was the alien subculture that first thrived in the early 20th Century. From Katherine Hepburn’s buttoned down shirts and high trousers, to Twiggy dominating the mod scene with her boyish crop cut, and of course David Bowie’s iconic pre-Ziggy Stardust look of flowing locks – draped across a sofa in a luxurious boho dress in The Man Who Sold the World.
Men who looked like women and women who looked like men. As the spirit of glam rock, punk and new wave boomed in the 70’s and early 80s, this unique, asexual and daring new look encouraged many young awkward and confused teenagers to experiment with their genders. Whether it was painting on aggressively vibrant eyeliner, to socialising in bohemian underground clubs, to trading over your pink blouse and pleated skirt for black drain pipe jeans and a studded military jacket – or even flared corduroy for a sequined waist jacket. Throughout this bleak Thatcheresque period, the kids were looking up to emerging new colourful artists and musicians taking over the televisions and sweeping across the high streets with new clothes shops. You could say that androgyny certainly gave a powerful message to our parent’s ‘Children of the Revolution.’ A message that screamed
‘WAKE UP. STOP CARING. BE YOURSELF. PLAY.’
Little did I know that it was these beloved gems from my parents childhood who were going to be a significant influence on me when it came to photography – particularly in Fashion. Growing up in a conservative Kentish village filled with tea rooms, church halls and the odd charity shop – it wasn’t often that I would come across someone who looked like they were from another planet. Often my favourite pass times would be rooting through my mum’s wardrobe or my Dad’s Ska CD collection. When I hit eighteen I was facehidden with jet black hair, loitering around flea markets, buying biker boots from drag queens in Camden and moshing to bands like Slipknot and My Chemical Romance in sweaty little rock bars in Dartford and Bexleyheath.
It wasn’t until I started my first year at University that I began to take an interest in photography. At the same time I was having love affairs with Gary Numan, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Ari Up and Twiggy. Patti in particular I was obsessed with. Her angular features, masculine frame and wild aura astonished me. I then realised that Androgyny was something I wanted to constantly capture in my work. These beautiful alien creatures who would make old ladies swoon if they breezed into a quiet tea shop!
© 2018 Jeanie Jean Photography