Mad Mods and a camera

Where does the time go as I cannot believe it’s been three months since my last post!

However, I’m so pleased and proud of my dear cousin Duncan who is holding his first photographic exhibition ‘Our Generation’ at The Lightbox Gallery, Woking, Surrey.

He is so creative and artistic in many mediums and designed the Mad Mods logo and video for the exhibition. So, I want to share this exciting event which is running from the 31st July to 22nd August.

But one step back, as some of you may not be so familiar with the sub culture Mods who were the baby boomers of a post war Britain. The Mods started in London in the late 50’s with a small group of men called ‘Modernists’ because they listened to modern jazz. The Mods were about fashion, smart Italian style suits and the music was jazz, rhythm and blues, soul and ska. They drove Vespa and Lambretta scooters. And the girls wore slim capri pants, twin sets, A line skirts and just think Mary Quant and the mini shift dress and skirts. All so different from how their parents dressed! There was a revival of the Mods in the 70’s and it hasn’t gone away and today still has a loyal passionate following internationally.

Black and white images are presented as ‘fine art printed onto aluminium’ giving an amazing, stylish, industrial, contemporary look.

Mods are never shy in front of a camera so there is never a shortage of content and inspiration! With lockdowns finished (we hope) Mods can get back to socialising and their live music, so key to their lifestyle. The ‘Mad Mods and a Camera’ book, of over 200 pages, covers Duncan’s first year of his photographic journey documenting the Mod scene.

But how did it all begin, here’s Duncan’s Mad Mods story.

“It was Remembrance Sunday, November 8th, 2015. I was heading back home with the Sunday papers and as I passed a local café I saw that a number of Mods with their scooters had congregated outside. By the time I got home I’d decided I was going to go back to photograph them. Don’t ask me why, but I knew I had to go back.

Bear in mind I hadn’t picked up a camera in years, so I was a bit nervous, to say the least! Outside the café, I asked if I could maybe take a few photos, not knowing what kind of reaction I’d get. Then ‘Smiler’, as he’s known, replied: “Of course mate, where do you want us?”

When I look back, that whole experience is an utter blur. What I do know is I was nervous as hell. After getting a handful of shots and saying polite goodbyes, I jumped back into my car and headed home. The big question was, had I captured anything worth showing?

Since then, my passion for photographing the Mod scene hasn’t stopped. I’ve photographed ride outs, weekenders and club nights– just about everything Mod. In fact I’m writing this after finishing a shoot with Paul Welsh, a suede head from Leeds, for a project called ‘Suited and Booted’. That’s what’s so great about this photographic journey – it’s introducing me to other subcultures, from suede heads to scooter boys and skinheads. And I’m learning from people inside the scene, which is so important.

“So, one day, when someone said to me “you must have enough photos to produce a book by now,” it got me thinking. And here it is. A book documenting the beginning of a photographic journey that started with that very first photo in Enfield in 2015.

So, a huge thank you to Mad Mods and Englishmen. If it wasn’t for the way they welcomed me that day, Mad Mods and a Camera might never have happened.

And who knows, one day I might even photograph Paul Weller. But that’s another story. Or even another book.”

“When I first planned this book it was going to be a simple celebration of how I started on my Mad Mods journey.

But almost a year after that day in Enfield, I started on another, much shorter journey. It was 1st October 2016, the first day I ever heard the word Glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma is an invasive, fast-growing primary brain tumour with one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. In the UK, around 3000 people are diagnosed with Glioblastoma every year. That’s why every single penny from the sale of this book will go towards The National Brain Appeal to support the pioneering work that my brother’s consultant, Dr Paul Mulholland is doing to find an effective treatment for Glioblastoma. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what my family went through with my brother. A wonderful husband. A loving father. A beautiful son. And my little Bro.”

I really hope you can visit Mad Mods and a Camera ‘Our Generation’ at The Lightbox. If you would like to purchase this fabulous book to support the National Brain Appeal, please e-mail madmodsandacamera@gmail.com or contact me through my blog.

Thank you.

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s