"Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that."—Chris Steele-Perkins
Few photographers understand their compatriots as well as British photographer, Chris Steele-Perkins. Born in Burma in 1947 to an English father and Burmese mother, two years later he moved with his family to England where he would grow up and later embark upon a career as a photojournalist. In 1979, at the age of 32, he joined Magnum Photos and his first book, The Teds, was published.
Teddy Boy culture developed in the London of the 1950’s. This new alchemy of teen culture fused Edwardian fashion, rock ‘n’ roll, drinking, dancing and, at times, collective violence into an original youth subculture. And like everything in Britain, social stratification and class played their customary roles. The Teds, for their part, were decidedly working class.
While Chris Steele-Perkins has enjoyed a long, storied career as a social documentary photographer covering a wide variety of issues, “The Teds” is something special. I pulled the book off my shelf yesterday, and as I smiled poring over the stories and images, I was reminded again why, thirty-four years later, “The Teds” remains a classic. —Lane Nevares