Print Sales’ Gallery presents We Could Be Heroes a group exhibition which looks at the development of youth culture and the bittersweet rites of passage towards adulthood over the last century. The exhibition features work from master photographers Bruce Davidson, Ed van der Elsken, Bert Hardy, Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Roger Mayne, Chris Steele-Perkins, Anders Petersen, Al Vandenberg, Weegee and Tom Wood.
The term ‘teenager’ was coined during a new wave of post-war optimism and freedom in which younger generations in Europe and the US seized an opportunity to turn away from tradition and assert new attitudes and subcultures. We Could Be Heroes reflects the exuberance, insouciance and rebellious bravado of this new tribe and its predecessors.
In 1959 legendary Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933, USA) embedded himself among members of the Brooklyn gang the Jokers. He spent eleven months producing one of the first full-immersion photo essays about an American youth subculture. Brooklyn Gang features everything from drinking in back alleys, moments of rage, make-out sessions in the backs of cars and liaisons under the Coney Island boardwalk.
Chris Steele-Perkins’ (b. 1947, Myanmar) iconic series The Teds looks at Teddy Boy culture of the 1950s in Britain and its revival in the 1970s. His photographs showcase the group’s distinctive style through rough and ready portraits alongside more naturalistic images of Teddy boy meetings, weddings and dances.
Love on the Left Bank by Ed van der Elsken (1925 - 1990, Netherlands) captured the reckless, carefree, decadent and hedonistic lifestyle of Parisian bohemia in the 1950s.
Anders Petersen’s (b. 1944, Sweden) work often focuses on the people living at the margins of society. This exhibition includes images from his seminal project Café Lehmitz (1978) featuring late-night regulars in the Hamburg bar alongside pictures from his specially commissioned publication Soho (2012) documenting the streets, pubs, cafes and private homes of residents of the famous London district.
Photographers Karen Knorr (b. 1954, Germany) and Olivier Richon’s (b. 1956. Switzerland) Punk (1977) capture London’s punk scene in a series of posed portraits taken in Covent Garden’s Roxy Club and the Global Village in Charing Cross. Staying away from candid photography Knorr and Richon instead chose to directly confront their subjects, emphasising punk’s symbolism and making it more readable to viewers.
Roger Mayne’s (1929 - 2014, UK) photographs of west London street scenes in the 1950s depicted members of the first generation to be identified as ‘teenagers’. The W10 (1956 – 1961) series, shot mainly in Southam Street in London – later demolished as part of a slum clearance programme - contrasted young people's exuberance with the urban dereliction they inhabited.
The exhibition also includes works by Bert Hardy, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Al Vandenberg, Weegee and Tom Wood.
We Could Be Heroes features over 20 pieces with prices starting from £750 + VAT. Additional works from each of the participating artists are also available on request.
We Could Be Heroes is the inaugural exhibition in the newly expanded Print Sales Gallery, providing an enhanced space to reflect the breadth of represented photographers and their work.