After finishing university in Newcastle in 1970, Chris Steele-Perkins moved to London as a freelance photographer and spent the following years working mainly in Britain in areas concerned with urban poverty and subcultures. Steele-Perkins, along with writer Richard Smith, were commissioned by New Society magazine to cover the second wave of the Teds for a story, which grew into a self-motivated study of the British youth movement over several years in the 1970s. In the 1950s a new youth culture emerged in Britain: working class youngsters adopting the formal and flamboyant tailoring of Edwardian dress. Some 20 years later, a second wave of young people began aping the style, music culture and attitudes of their Ted forebears. Pictured here, Teddy boys dancing in a pub in Gateshead, 1975.

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
© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

Chris Steele-Perkins was born in 1947 in Rangoon, Burma and at the age of two, moved to England with his father. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971.

Steele-Perkins has produced some of the most iconic images of British society in the last half century, exploring youth subcultures, poverty and community with artful sensitivity. His more than 45-year career has seen him travel widely, making significant bodies of work in his home country of Myanmar, as well as Japan, Africa and Afghanistan, all of which have received critical acclaim.

Steele-Perkins became a member of Magnum Photos in 1979 and continues to work in Britain and abroad.

© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

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