STARE – Fetish photography by Derek Ridgers
By Rollerblade on July 29, 2008
A new tome by a scene veteran is often greeted with antipathy but when it’s Derek Ridgers you sit up and pay attention. This new Goliath book is worth a spot on anyone’s coffee table. It’s a perfectly formed collection of clubbing photos, which, upon reading, makes you remember exactly what you were doing in the 1990s. Or what you wished you’d been doing.
The shots span clubs, a decade, good/bad hairstyles and clothes and reiterate why Ridgers is one of the great fetish photographers of all time. From Club Rub, TG, Wonderland and Whacko to the various Rubber Balls, this book puts you inside the darkened stairwells that the bearded snapper lurks in, waiting for the right subject to sidle past. And that perhaps is Ridgers’ greatest gift.
He has the ability and eye to catch a passing girl in a late hour and not just take her picture, not just try and catch her off guard by snapping away. But to make his presence subtly known, without giving direction to the subject, and allow that person to put across the image they want. It’s the illusion of control – they think they have it: he does.
Each photograph tells the story of the night out as each person thinks they’ve successfully posed without giving away how out of it they are. But in each photo, the truth is revealed and the reality of the addled subject comes across whether they’ve had a debauched night or an uneventful one. To encompass all of that in one photo is a rare talent indeed. Ridgers has been capturing people as they really are for decades – my own awareness came with his now legendary skinhead photos of the late 1970s — and the reader is certain of this: he will always deliver.