Peter Anderson’s early work records a rarely-seen alternative 80s. Working closely with his subjects – many of whom have since become household names – his photographs capture the energy of an era when music, fashion and politics first collided. It is a time that is still deeply influential today.
Anderson’s huge, five foot by four foot photographic prints currently sell alongside works by Warhol, Basquiat and Banksy. They reflect a fascination with what is now called “Urban Art” that started when the Royal College funded his first trip to New York, where he made iconic images of early hip-hop street style.
Then and There, Here and Now includes portraits – some never before seen – made while Anderson was a staff photographer at New Musical Express. The subjects represent a who’s who of music, including Madonna, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Tom Waits, Run DMC, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller and Blur’s Damon Albarn. A young Bono stands with fists raised, ready to take on the world as it turned out. The Clash’s late Joe Strummer gazes intently into the lens in a haunting portrait taken on London train tracks.
Anderson’s work is concerned with energy, often translated into movement. Far from the careful, artful poses that often characterise the image-conscious 80s, these spontaneous shots reveal the sheer vitality of the era. In retrospect it becomes a blur of ideas.