“The photography in The Face highlighted the important fact that none of these cultural things existed in a vacuum,” says Paul Gorman. “It was nearly always reportage.” In his new book The Story of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture, the long-standing author and music journalist hopes to show just how important the iconic magazine was in shifting British perspectives on culture – and how photography helped it do so. Founded in 1980 by Nick Logan, the same man behind NME and Smash Hits, The Face was one of the first UK magazines to champion youth and counter-culture, fashion, music and film under one banner, and in doing so, argues Gorman, helped launch some of the most influential music, fashion and documentary photographers of our time, including Sheila Rock, Corinne Day, Juergen Teller, Nick Knight and Ewen Spencer.
“The Face had a different theme every issue and were planning an issue on sex, so Graham Rounthwaite [the art director] said ‘Can you photograph in clubs and sixth form parties and get an idea of young kids’ idea of love?’”says Ewen Spencer. The feature became a regular spot, sometimes shot by Spencer and sometimes by another photographer, a writer going along each time to talk to the kids they found. But it became an ongoing interest for Spencer, who started to pursue it in his own time as well as on commission, and images from the series have now been published as a book by Stanley Barker