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Vintage 80s: London Street Photography


Posted by Eliza Williams, 12 September 2011, 16:40    Permalink    Comments (14)

In many ways the 80s don't seem that long ago, especially with the recent resurgence in 80s-style fashion. Yet a new book of photographs from 80s London by Johnny Stiletto reveals that in fact the city has changed dramatically since then...

Titled Vintage 80s, Stiletto's book is a collection of photography taken on the street and on public transport (Francis Bacon on the Piccadilly Line is shown above) during the decade. Much has changed, in particular the design within the city: the book shows a far less branded London than today, with fashion and graphics that certainly speak of a different time.

Evening Standard newspaper sellers

An iconic billboard ad from the 80s

Among the scenes captured are shots of famous people and places: Mick Jagger walking down the street with his manager, and a photo through the window of Granita on Upper Street, Islington, the restaurant where Gordon Brown and Tony Blair made their infamous leadership pact later in the 90s.

Granita, Islington

Mick Jagger and his manager, Prince Rupert von Lowenstein

Al Capone's car outside Sotheby's, Bond Street

Elsewhere Stiletto captures the casual violence and despair that can be seen on London's streets. Below is a shot of a scuffle in Knightsbridge Underground station, and an image of a well-dressed woman passed out in a doorway.

Man apprehended at Knightsbridge Underground Station

Woman on the street

But there are snatched moments of tenderness too, as well as lots of comedic scenes.

Couple on the tube at night

Well-dressed couple on the street

Clamped Citroen DS in front of Cyril Shire's Trendsetter Salon. All images are © Johnny Stiletto.

Vintage 80s: London Street Photography by Johnny Stiletto is published this week by Frances Lincoln publishers, priced £14.99. More of Stiletto's work can be viewed online at


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These are amazing!
Togs + Clogs
2011-09-13 10:28:12

Ah yes, in the 80's the Tube still had first and second class tickets, and wooden seats in some carriages.
A simpler time, with different standards, well illustrated by the B&W shots.
2011-09-13 13:25:44

it's like reading The Face magazine
2011-09-13 14:52:25

'Johnny' was a copywriter at Davidson Pearce in the 80's. He worked with Joanna Dickerson.
2011-09-13 15:47:10

fantastic! and Bacon always rules!
2011-09-13 20:50:21

Woman on the street heheheheh
What happend to her :?
Someone had hard night :D
London Massage
2011-09-14 02:02:05

'Man apprehended at Knightsbridge Underground Station' 30 years later nothing seems to have changed
2011-10-05 15:40:14

This is totally brilliant!! Full on "vintage", but only in the 80s. Great pics - vintage lives on always....
2011-10-11 12:54:03

Not one pair of headphones on the tube. Can you imagine that now.
Dan Worth
2011-10-11 15:08:08

Truly lovely... and the 80s look so far away!
2011-10-11 15:54:53

These are gorgeous!
2011-10-11 16:33:08

Wooden seats? Never in the London Underground, maybe on the Paris Metro. Also there were two smoking carriages per train before they were all non-smoking, but no 1st/2nd class as I recall.
John Keogh
2011-10-12 11:16:11

These are awesome
London photography
2011-12-10 09:53:22

Yes, I remember being on the tube and seeing Francis Bacon in just such pose and this shot is the one in my head. But in colour; seeing Mick Jagger strolling along' Citroens when they were truly French. I put a candle on the steps of Apple in Saville Row with Pam. Evocative of London, when I felt it was my town!
Neil Pennington
2013-02-04 14:33:58

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