A number of rare photos of the London art and club scene in the 1980s are the items on display in “Before We Were Men,” an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in the English capital. Taken by photographer and artist David Gwinnutt, the images offer a look at the lifestyles of young artists, filmmakers, musicians and fashion designers during this period of financial recession and underemployment in the UK.
A defining feature of the images is their showcase of gender and sexuality and how many of the photographs’ subjects, who include Leigh Bowery, Derek Jarman, Gilbert & George, Maggi Hambling, Duggie Fields, Stephen Linard, David Holah, Derek Jarman and John Maybury, worked to blur the boundaries between the sexes. Many of them went on to become important figures in their fields.
“Before We Were Men” opens on May 19 and will run until Sept. 24.