Images documenting the teenage experience in Weymouth in the 1970s will be published as a photo collection if photographer Iain McKell can drum up enough support for his project. Joanna Davis reports.

A PHOTOGRAPHER has launched a crowd funder campaign to get pictures of teenage life in Weymouth in the 1970s into print.

Iain McKell, a British art-documentary, fashion and portrait photographer is hoping people will help him get the autobiographical collection of published as a hard back book. The pictures tell the story of Iain’s life in Weymouth in the 70s.

Iain began taking photographs in the mid to late 70s while studying graphic design at Exeter College of Art and Design.

Photos in his collection, called Private Reality - A Diary of a Teenage Boy, were taken when he was a 19-year-old and had a summer job as a seaside photographer in Weymouth. At the time

The book, if published through crowdfunding website Kickstarter, will be Iain’s fifth photography book.

Iain said: “This was a perfect opportunity to earn some money and do a personal project at the same time. The pictures feature all aspects of my life, making it autobiographical.

“It features friends, family, workmates, locals and of course holidaymakers I came across while working on the seafront. This continued into the evening around disco bars, caravan parks and a road trip to music festivals or just out and about with friends.”

Iain says his collection is about youth culture and what life is like being a teenager growing up in a British seaside town in the 1970s.

He added: “It shows the life of a boy coming of age and reaching adulthood through a photographic journal, about the life of a seaside photographer, as I started to look at the world through a camera.

"Existential angst was preoccupying my thoughts at the time. It was my rite of passage and coming of age as I started to look a the world through the camera."

The collection also documents a photographic journey for Iain, who at the time was experimenting with abstraction through the graphic nature of photography.

Iain has been selected to show his work at at the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate. The exhibition will be curated by Val Williams and Karen Seperdson.

Val, an author who is a photography expert, said Iain’s black and white photos express both ‘desire and despair’ and ‘the sense of unbelonging is visceral.’

She added: “Ironically, Iain did belong to this fading seaside town. Growing up in a Weymouth hotel, in a landscape of arrivals and departures, of transient relations founded on elusive notions of pleasure and escape.”

Iain, who also has an interest in long term documentary projects, describes his photos as ‘self-confessional’, and says they look at ‘the psyche’ of the human condition.

The Kickstarter campaign for Private Reality - A Diary of a Teenage Boy began yesterday (8).

Iain is urging anyone with an interest in photography or life in Weymouth in the 1970s to support the project.

He said: “There are lots of rewards on offer including advanced copies of the book Private Reality signed by me, acknowledgements for supporting me and even a Salon evening with slide show and talk.

"You can also follow me on Instagram@iainmckell, twitter https://twitter.com/iainmckell and to see my journey to make this book a reality."

You can pledge support for Iain's book by going to kck.st/2SfCMtP

Capturing music and fashion icons

In 1979 Iain moved to London and documented sub-societies across the globe including New York’s Guardian Angels, the mod/skinhead revival in the 80s from London to Southend and horse drawn new age travellers in the West Country .

Over the years he has made portraits of icons like Madonna and Kate Moss.

He has also directed commercials and pop videos and has had worked through commission for The Sunday Times, Vogue Italia, L’uomo Vogue, i-D.

He continues to shoot editorial fashion, portraits and advertisements while working on personal long term projects which have been exhibited in galleries including the Photographers' Galley, London 1985 and the Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate in 2019.