In 1976, aged nineteen, Iain McKell was a student at Exeter College of Art. To earn a living on the side, he got himself a summer job on Weymouth seafront, photographing holidaymakers.
This sparked a new hobby and Iain began to take pictures of his life. He captured local people from the town, his friends and family, too. He photographed disco bars and fairgrounds. Even local caravan parks where tourists would flock in the warmer months. "It was my right of passage and coming of age as I started to look at the world through the camera," says Iain.
Now, 43 years later, Iain is resurrecting some of these personal photographs to feature in a new photo book, published by Dewi Lewis. Private Reality, Diary of a Teenage Boy is a wonderful glimpse at youth culture in the 1970s. An era before mobile phones and social media. A time when landline telephones were the norm and television only had three channels.
As well as the book, Iain McKell will be exhibiting the series at the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate this May. The show is to be curated by Val Williams and Karen Seperdson. “The early black and white photographs express both desire and despair the sense of unbelonging visceral but ironically he did belong to this place," says Val. "Growing up in a British seaside hotel in a landscape of arrivals and departures of transient relationships founded on elusive notions of pleasure and escape."