Ewen Spencer: While You Were Sleeping
11" x 11"
156 pages, 88 BW
An up-close portrayal of late-’90s London’s many music scenes, from the pages of Sleazenation and beyond
In the late 1990s, as a graduate from art school, the British photographer Ewen Spencer began making pictures for Sleazenation, in particular for the infamous listing pages at the rear of the magazine that were called "Savoir Vivre." The images were made in both black and white and color, and were immensely candid and full of characters that seemed to be everywhere at that time.
London was at the epicenter of a cultural boom in this period. Small clubs, parties and discos were plentiful in venues from North to South, and Spencer was in a minicab and night bus taking in all the scenes—from Northern Soul, Acid House, Jungle and Garage to Nu Metal, South London blackout clubs and more. Spencer captures an era filled with love, lust and messy authenticity.
Ewen Spencer (born 1971) graduated from the University of Brighton in 1997 and began shooting for style magazines such as Sleazenation and The Face, with an emphasis on youth culture. In 2004 his series Teenagers was shortlisted for the Project Assistance award at Rencontres D’Arles, curated that year by Martin Parr, who tipped Spencer as “one to watch.” In 2013 he began self-publishing a biannual photo-zine, Guapamente focusing on global youth subcultures. Spencer has also made documentaries on Britain’s Garage and Grime scenes. His monograph Young Love was published by Stanley Barker in 2017.