The Unseen Scene:

Explaining Revival Subcultures


Presented in the form of collected short essays, this pamphlet acts as an introduction to the covert Revival scene in Britain and the rest of the world. Each pamphlet is illustrated by the work of Nick Clements.


Size: 245mm x 170mm (40 pages)

Limited Edition — 100 copies

This pamphlet is not for sale, but is free of charge for University-based academics (while stocks last)

Nick Clements
The Subcultural Pamphleteer

The author goes about his everyday business.

In parallel to his thirty-year career as a photographer and filmmaker Nick Clements was observing the constantly developing rites and rituals of Revival subcultures of which he was also a part. Such groups are often defined by their tendencies in the collection of clothing and objects, which are in turn mediated through an on-going performance that is seldom seen or understood by the general public. Starting in the late 1970s Clements invited the Revivalists to his own pre-prepared sets and locations with the intriguing proposition to “come as you are and bring what you have”. Using the primary medium of film production and set-building, the photographer then arranged and directed the participants within that designated space, allowing them to improvise at all levels, and either filmed or photographed them. In the early 2000s Clements set about editing the significant body of work that had been amassed over the previous two decades in an attempt to give a chronology to events in the post-punk epoch and to explain this social phenomenon in critical writing. This resulted in Simulacra (2005), a collection of photographs, never seen outside his own studio, with accompanying text. Only printed in a short run the book sold out fast. Buoyed by this success (albeit limited) this encouraged further projects that led in 2008 to the launch of a magazine that showcased re-enactment culture and the collecting of mid-century clothing and objects. Men’s File was intended to chronicle the Revival scene on an international level and consequently act as an analogue information source for various interested parties from individual street stylists to academic bodies.


Ten years on and the catalogue of images has grown and so has the desire to understand Revival in terms of being a response to the rapid changes to the social and political landscape that have occurred since the inception of Men’s File. Coming from a theoretical position, this series of pamphlets seeks to go past the what, when and how and focuses on the question: why? Topics covered include narcissism and self-image, historical revisionism and its relationship to subcultures and the adoption of market fundamentals as a mediator of subcultural aesthetics and development.

© Nick Clements

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