Exhibition: The New Faces

Photographer Dean Chalkley’s exhibition, The New Faces opened last night at The Book Club on Leonard Street in London…

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Photographer Dean Chalkley‘s exhibition, The New Faces opened last night at The Book Club on Leonard Street in London..

The New Faces is a collection of images Chalkley took late last year of a group of young Mods who he first encountered at his monthly DJ night, Shake!, at The Boogaloo pub in Highgate. Intrigued by their sharp dressing and enviable dancing skills, Chalkley suggested he immortalise their look and attitude on celluloid and invited them to come to a studio shoot. “These guys are the antithesis of the all too common don’t-give-a-fuck attitude of some young adults,” explains Chalkley. “They’re bright young folk who take a real pride in how they present themselves and they’re really into their music – mainly late 50s and early 60s rhythm and blues. They’re actually from varied backgrounds and different parts of the country – but their shared passion for music, dancing and looking sharp brings them together. And you should see them dance –they look good and they’ve got the moves!”

Here is a selection of images from the show:

Somewhat fittingly, the title of the show was suggested by none other than the Modfather himself, Paul Weller. Chalkley explains: “I’d just finished a shoot with Paul and I was showing him the contact sheet with these images. I told him all about the shoot and that I was going to exhibit the images but explained that I was still unsure about the title of the show. Paul responded with ‘It’s The New Faces’ and that was that. It was a perfect suggestion.”

The New Faces runs until 29 April at The Book Club, 100 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RH

See more of Dean Chalkley’s work at deanchalkley.com

  • I was lucky enough to be at the opening last night, the place was packed with achingly cool faces which made me look even more of a scruff bag than usual.

  • SadBast

    I too was at the launch night, what a party and what a crowd! A series of amazing DJ sets (all from the original vinyl 7″s of course) all witnessed variously by members of The Horrors, Romance, Klaxons, The Violets, Add (N) to X, The She Set, S.C.U.M. etc etc. Highlight for me was to witness The New Faces dancing in the basement room (so many great DJ’s they needed 2 rooms to accomodate them all) with a number of their friends.

    Back to the exhibition, a quick chat with Dean revealed that these are digital shots made using flash in the studio yet treated to ‘retain the humanity’, so without airbrushing and still ‘showing all the defects.’ I note the patterns of grubby footprints on the studio floors in the dance shots etc. A highlight for me, and probably missed by many as it was only projected on a small wall in an obscured part of the downstairs room, was the video footage of the subjects dancing. A rather surreal piece that, according to Dean, becomes even more so when the soundtrack can be heard. Not possible however when it became the backdrop of that great party.

    Dean hosts the New Faces as guest DJ’s tonight (Saturday 6th March) at ‘Shake’, at Boogaloo, Highgate.

  • Would like to recommend The Book Club.
    It has a great atmosphere and always great photography on the walls.

  • Nick

    So much hair!

  • Also attending the evening – actually by mistake it was really inspiring to see this intriguing photography work along with the actual models at the event – in their respectable outfits. A quick game of spot the model was fun and the casual atmosphere made the event different from other private views.

  • john barrett

    We are the mods, we are, we are, we are the mods. So good to see the new mods on show as it catapults me back to the Leeds 1960s mod scene as the cut of the clothes and slimness to the people was just so good. The mods in these images capture the elegance and coolness of the British Mod scene perfectly and the soul dance moves reinforce what happens ‘out on the floor’ – sheer passion for the music as well as looking good! Long may ‘modernism’ reign! John Barrett (photographer and author of ‘Keeping the Faith’.

  • bob

    A fancy dress party with dance moves copied from youtube.

  • Blob

    Alright Bob, why dont you pop down to the “Final Spin” party on the 15th and show us all your moves?

  • Olivia

    Although I’m a Dean Chalkley fan, I personally think this project is a case of good PR, resulting in hype over content. For me, the most arresting shot is the portrait of the girl. Where as the others are a bit pedestrian. I went to the opening night too and I think the show would have benefited from a different venue. The Book Club is great, but not for this. Art in bars, doesn’t work.

  • Bobby

    Oh pipe down, Olivia! You are embarrassing yourself!

  • David

    Couldn’t agree more Olivia.

  • Mike

    60s throwbacks. Can’t see the point.

    I know a few of the faces from the soul scene, and they look good on the dancefloor, but unless there is an originality in their style, why bother documenting it? There are others who look just as good but don’t dress like their dads.

    The name dropping of retro-bore Paul Weller is telling.

  • Karen Williams

    There is something inherently wrong when a scene with its roots, ideals & dictionary definition as ‘working class’ flaunts a it’s pompous middle class poster boys as indicative of its ‘Faces’. These charlatans live in homes bought by their Daddy, have double barrel surnames and grew up with nannies and public school privileges; hardly authentic. Some of their naive comments make a girl wince! When I have the luxury of working part time in retail or flogging tat online in between photo shoots and spunking my trust fund on overpriced rare 45’s please pinch me! Hardly “clean living under difficult circumstances”. Welcome to post-modern irony!

    “That’s what being in the working class is all about — how to get out of it.” – Neville Kenneth Wran

  • Bobby

    Why wasn’t my comment published? Please answer – there are some extremely insulting and misguided remarks in Karen Williams’s post and I think they need to be addressed.

  • Kyle

    @mike “..unless there is an originality in their style, why bother documenting it?”

    Originality is over-rated. Think about literature: mostly the same types of stories, or even the same story, is told again and again. I argue that it is more about perfecting a good story, or in this case, look.

  • Jonny

    I agree with Karen to a lesser extent. I know a few people that know these lads and some of them are pretty sound, albeit rather cliquey and despairingly in half their cases; insincere and arrogant, probably egged on under their own spell in numbers which is a little tedious for those of us that have been round the block a bit.

    The arrogance of youth is to be expected though; that feeling that ones generation’s movement is cooler than anything that has been before. And there lies the irony.

    I was a part of the late 80’s to mid 90’s rave scene and its joyous homogeneous link with indie/Baggy/Brit pop and at the time, like our previous movements we really felt like we were a part of something significant, era defining and bigger than the sum of its parts, which objectively speaking actually stood the test of time most popular culture commentators would concur. We caught the last truly British wave! Conversely these lads are just reinventing the wheel but with taste & accurate attention to period detail and that still takes nouse.

    Social media, rapid culture consumerism and the global village paradigm have made sartorial identity less tribal, identifiable and uniformed. Pulling off this look is endearing but it is at source just making do with a dull age by claiming an appealing lifestyle from days gone by. My father was a Mod and would send off for his ‘new’ r&b records or buy them from American GI’s, bagged his GS as soon as they came out of production with his saved up Saturday pennies and followed the latest trends in suiting; that was Modernism, not this.

    I would argue that if there is any pomposity among generation X or this lot as a case in point, born too late for anything fresh to call their own then it is paradoxical. Faces IMO do not exist anymore, by definition Faces were the innovators and leaders of an evolving movement. Mod, like Ted, Punk or Skin reached its peak at one point or another, bound by its own limitations and thus can only really be replicated well now. If that makes one a Face then I better start studying the pictorial archives more closing and rifling ferociously through record collecting rags because plagiarism is fair game for anyone…lets just not delude ourselves we’re a ‘Face’ in the process or have a photographer label us as such. Too easily impressed evidently but nice shots nevertheless!

  • Micky

    Touché Jonny, ‘New’ and ‘Faces’ seem a contradiction in terms in the 21st century. Retrospectively impressive imagery but it is what it is; old dog, old tricks and a curiously enamoured photographer! Can’t speak for alleged arrogance but if there is any that would be hugely misplaced! When plagiarism gets celebrated as fresh and pioneering you have to question the pretence of it all. Looks like a lot of boys in a bubble to me. Naked emperors slapping each other’s backs.

  • Martin Freeman

    In its retrospective context this is very visually and aesthetically pleasing but lets remember they are not reaching this hiatus in 1962 as hard up inner city kids with dreams of being ‘someone’. A lass who’s brother is on this tired old scene tells me one of these kids used to rock up to the scooter rallys with leopard print hair. That bottle blonde lad is in that naff book “I’m One” with a load of old revivalist farts having a mod life crisis as the token youngster, stood by a trite target in his bedroom, so they all seemingly reinvented themselves. How they can be put forward as Faces I don’t know. They may well be alright lads but I have heard that the chinny chap is particularly opinionated and rude, tosses his orb about labelling those he considers lesser/fake ‘Mods’, probably as they can’t afford thousands of pounds worth of records to play to 6 mates and a fleet of old men in ill fitting knitwear at superficial stuffy club nights whilst ranting over the mic about how great they are. She says he used to wear straw hats and swig Carling at V himself, ha! Got the photographer proper fooled though. Ironic indeed!

  • Tom

    Stumbled across this thread and had to see what all the fuss was about so just watched the film. And I quote: “I have 9 scooters”, “I guess we are pretty special” “I/we are elitist” “I/we are snobs”, “people that don’t play original vinyl are tw*ts”. Crumbs! No smoke without fire I guess, seems the criticism is pretty well earned! The blonde kid seems the most down to earth, the other 2 talking are digging their own grave with that chat!