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Contemporary Britain for display at Tate Britain
‘teens1.jpg’ – CHOSEN BY SUSAN BRIGHT
Grace Pattison, 25, London
Teenagers at The Underage Club, Elephant & Castle
This photograph was part of a story I worked on about London’s underage music scene in December 2006. British teenagers have always been influential when it comes to music and style, although the last two decades have seen the music industry heavily control the charts and mainstream airplay. This has, in turn, drowned out individuality and suppressed opportunities for promoting new talent. In response to this, the past year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of club nights, gigs and music festivals dedicated to under-18 year olds. Influenced and aided by the networking site MySpace, teenagers have taken matters into their own hands, creating and promoting accessible yet credible events where some of the bands are barely even out of school. This recent movement is reminiscent of the punk era where young people took a DIY approach to fashion and music, resulting in a new cultural scene, which is very contemporary and exciting. For me, this image sums up some of the awkwardness and ambiguity that these teenagers exude, whilst at the same time being über cool and fashionable.