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A Night with Derek Ridgers & The Others

Blog (EN)

A Night with Derek Ridgers & The Others

Diana Rovanio


"We were all heroes until the sun rose"

– Richard Habberley , foreword on The Others


Through an impromptu invitation received by SMS, I decided to come and check out a book launch titled The Others ; a selection of photos of London youth underground by a legendary photographer. Before I arrive to the venue, I did a little research on the net and my jaw-dropped when I read about him and his work. It was a night of surprises ; from meeting the man behind the lens to a picture filled with ecstasy

Words by Diana Rovanio


Derek Ridgers is the silent observer of the London underground scene since 1971. His photographs narrate the fascinating evolution of UK style, culture, and club scene. He immortalizes the blithe indifference of youth long before the era of Instagram, facebook and social media. James Brown, Spice Girls, Clint Eastwood, Johnny Depp, Vivienne Westwood are among the ones that he has photographed.
— Wikipedia // John Maybury, Derek Ridgers: 78-87 London Youth// IDEA Books

The invitation came by my friend; the adorable Stanley Judge who is the owner of 'Trinity Parfums'. The event was hosted by IDEA Books and KIM JONES (Louis Vuitton's artistic director for Men) in association with CONVOY (a creative agency based in Paris). The event was held in Comme Des Garçons Trading Museum and Honor Café. This location is the main boutique of Comme des Garçons in Paris. When you enter the gate, you have to walk through a seemingly empty courtyard and first you will find a cute cafe (Honor Cafe), At the end of the courtyard you will find there are no clear logo that indicates Comme des Garçons boutique aside the red accent on their windows. A little hide and seek if you may. It's definitely designed to peak curiosity and to discover the place.

A Book signing in Paris is often a relaxed cocktail event. When I arrived, the venue was packed with fashionable crowd in the courtyard wearing what is considered to be the standard casual chic uniform in Paris. This meant: a nice long wool jacket, jeans or chinos, paired with either crazy graphic kicks, black runners or the ever so popular white sneaker notably ; the Adidas stan smith which seems to be multiplying per millisecond in every corner in this city.

Standing next to Derek in all black is Dominik Pollin the PR officer for Idea books and a good friend of Stanley. I have to say that Dominik has an impressive multitasking capacity. Even though he had his hands full, he managed to be attentive to everyone. When I asked him if he wouldn't mind me writing about the event and taking some pictures, he kindly introduced me to Derek.

What struck me first was how humble and approachable Derek is. Our conversation started by me timidly apologizing to Derek. Despite the presence of my Canon 400D, I would have to take the pictures through my phone due to a problem of the camera lens. Derek smiled and said not to worry. He said that he was not a snob about photography. He loves the fact how photography has become very accessible with iPhone and other technologies. He proceeded to tell me on how impressed he was with some of the pictures that he saw other people took with their phones.

When asked if there any spesific subjects that he would like to explore in the future, he told me that he love not knowing what the future holds and where his lens will take him next. He would certainly love to continue in fashion. The raw energy is something that he cherish. For him, the working process has to have a certain organic feeling, he prefers to work just with a small team, preferably directly with a stylist and a model.


I tell you one thing I’ve noticed about taking photos these days. Selfies and photos taken by people’s computers are often fantastic. I’ve photographed several very impressive, creative people and their selfies were much, much better than my photos of them. I suppose they are working with a subject they love?
— David Owen of IDEA Books , interview on i-D.vice.com, 12/11/15

As he was signing my copy of his book, I realized that I have created a sort of traffic jam with the crowd behind me who were lining up to have their copy signed. Not wanting to be stabbed by a stiletto on my back or possibly branded by the soles of fancy sneakers (who knows what impatient fashionistas can do) ;) , I thanked Derek for his time.

Dominik took several pictures of us. Being the aspiring supermodel I am (not) I can't help but to make faces (nervous instinct = weird faces) This led to a particularly amusing picture where Derek said I looked like I was in ecstasy and he asked if it was okay for him to publish it on his facebook.

Conversations in my head:
1. DEREK RIDGERS wants to post our pictures on facebook!!! aaaaagh!!!
2. OMG MY FACE!
3. Is looking in ecstasy a good thing?
4. a minute as one of 'The Others' !! epic!!
5. Calm down and stay professional, think Angelina Jolie

The night came to a close and we said our goodbyes. I took the metro and on the way back, I lightly flipped through The Others. Turning a page of The Others is to delve into the underground world of the British 80's club scene. It emits a voyeuristic feel of London's youth culture and its boisterous crowd. Step in, get lost in the moment, you can almost hear the music, stumble through the crowd and taste the sweat, lip locking lovers, fleeting encounters with all these personas in their original sartorial DIY creation. Meet and observe The Others who lived solely for the night, leaving us - the spectators - in awe and envy of those wild nights passed in a foray to the land of careless youth.

My mind wondered to the rites of dressing up to go out. Do you remember your first time going out to a club? I certainly remembered mine, the thrill and excitement, how I consecrated hours to prepare and compose a super fashion look (mine was a velvet striped tank top paired with bell-bottom flared jeans and black high heeled wedges - so many fashion sins in one outfit). It was a way to impose my 'otherness' before braving the unknown mysteries of the night. I believe that at certain moments in our lives, we all crave the feeling to impose and to lose ourselves. What about you? What were your moments of 'Otherness'? Do you recall your first going out getup?


*The Others will be available exclusively at Dover Street Market London and New York, Marc Jacobs' Bookmarc stores in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Tokyo and online at idea-books.com. Image excerpt from 'The Others' courtesy of IDEA books and Derek Ridgers.


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