From the vaults: Rainbow rollergirls

One of my oldest shoots, these pictures* were taken on a freezing November day in an Epping airfield. I don’t remember the exact year, but definitely over ten years ago. We had been invited to submit a shoot for a Japanese exhibition and the photographer had an idea. “I thought we could do nudes.” Quite what kind of styling he envisaged I don’t know but something made me blurt out, “let’s do naked girls on rollerskates!” Thinking back, I can’t pinpoint where that came from but I remember a Juergen Teller/Venetia Scott shoot in Nova around that time featuring old school quad skates so that could have been the trigger. (How do we ever really know where our inspirations come from?) Straight away we set to organising the shoot. Needless to say, several attempts were made to secure the location but each time we neared confirmation, the airfield owner would reconsider on discovering the exact nature of the shoot.

Our models were absolutely outstanding. Fully briefed beforehand, they were utterly professional and brilliant sports. We were lucky to have clear, blue sky and sunshine but the pictures are deceptive – despite industrial heaters, it was bloody cold. What I really love about this shoot is its youthful spirit and energy, and in particular, the natural beauty of the girls. We did minimal hair and make-up and there was no excessive retouching (it was before the days of digital). The shoot was later featured in Tank magazine and remains one of my favourite shoots.

[Photography: Alan Clarke]

*Forgive the quality, I think these are Polaroids