SUB CULTURE by Iain McKell has been re-immersed into the world by Wild Life Press

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Steve Terry is the man behind the incredibly good publishers Wild Life Press. If you don’t know about them they’ve created some of the most exciting counter culture publications of the last few years, most notably Bound by Night a book that we explored last year on Sang Bleu which delved right into the contemporary voguing scene in New York with a harrowing reality and humanity.
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However, his most recent venture has seen him do something a little bit different, rather than create a whole new book Terry has repackaged one of those books which is so rare and prized that its very name between book collectors is like that of a mythological creature. SUB CULTURE by Iain McKell documented the suedehead and two-tone scene of England in the 70s, and rather than McKell being a voyeur to the scene this iconic photographer was an insider to it, making the photos excruciatingly raw and personal. We spoke to Steve to find out more about this goldmine of a book and how he’s gone about re-packaging so many original copies of it and re-immersing it to the world.
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Out of all of the rare books in the world, why did you want to re-publish this one?
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I had been after a copy of this book as had many other people I know for years. Its status among collector’s was almost mythical. I usually work with artists on new projects, but I could see a way of presenting Iain’s book that added something fresh while still preserving the integrity of the book itself. I have not technically ‘re-published’ it. I have repackaged it. It is a copy of the original 1979 book together with a new bromide photo print presented in a custom folder & poly bag.
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What is it about Iain McKell’s work that you think is important?
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He documented the scene from the inside. He was an original skin in the late 1960’s at the age of fourteen as it was crossing over from the mod scene and stayed in the movement as it evolved through suede heads, smoothies and eventually into Two Tone. By this time he had graduated from art college and decided to document it. So you get the feeling that this is someone with an eye for what really symbolized the scene and knew what to photograph.
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How did you get in touch with Iain? What was the process of re-creating the book like?
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I had been trying to contact him for a few years on & off sending emails and asking around, but to no avail. Then late last year Iain finally responded by saying he had 150 archive copies in his studio! This was like a record collector unearthing a batch of sealed, first pressing sought after disco 12’s. I wasn’t expecting that – I thought he might say he had one spare copy. So after getting to know Iain and listening to his history I started thinking about a way to represent this book for him. I knew I had to add something new whilst preserving the the integrity of the book itself. The reaction has been great and to be honest I am so happy to finally own a copy myself!
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Find out more about trying to get your hands on this supreme piece of history through Steve here.
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You can also follow Wild Life Press on Instagram here
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