Sheffield, a city in South Yorkshire, England, is not renowned for the nourishing environment it provides for quintessentially British subcultures. Still, as this new series from photographer Dean Davies, capturing its goths against archetypal suburban landscapes, proves, it does well to support them nonetheless. Davies spent three days photographing a group of people handpicked and street-cast in the surrounding area, hanging out near the city’s gothic clothing shops and recruiting others through social media, assembling a cast of defiant and authentic characters.
Each subject was invited to arrive in their own outfits, which were then added to by stylist Helen McGuckin. "I like to try to blur the lines between documentary and fashion, so that when people see the photographs, they don’t know what’s real or not," Davies explains, and the technique proves particularly effective here. The featured outfits combine Gothism’s classic 19th-century roots with more industrial and post-punk influences, to create a thoroughly contemporary reigning of the age-old subculture.
Davies is emphatic about his two favourite subjects in the series. "Paul and Pat – the older couple in the photos," he offers. "They turned up in a kitted up camper van, and they travel around playing in Irish bands – they’re not Irish – but they’re just so interesting. I think they’re some of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken. They’re actually Helen’s in-laws, so she roped them in."
It makes for an insightful and captivating series, in which Davies' all-seeing lens identifies otherwise invisible elements of their outfits – from a studded lapel to a fishnet glove. "I like how those little things run through the series," Davies adds of the sartorial details. Here, we select some of our favourite shots from the series.