Basel photographer Nicole Zachmann has made an intensive study of portrait photography over the last twenty years. In the mid 1980s she took photographs of activists from the music and art subculture in Basel, drawing on her extended circle of acquaintances and friends, some of whom have since achieved national and international fame. The post-Punk scenarios of that cultural transit period included rehearsal cellars, back yards, music studios and squats, mainly in Basel, but in Zurich and Munich as well. “All you needed to attract attention and cause a bit of a scandal was a few weird clothes or an out of the way hairstyle. Even in Basel, though it should be pointed out that Basel was a very liberal city at the time by general Swiss standards.” (Suzanne Zahnd)
Sometimes the photographs are carefully staged and posed, sometimes they are spontaneous snapshots, but the subjects’ view of themselves, their clothing, hairstyles, accessories, and also their bearing and body language, are crucial too. “Think for yourself and make your mind up. Be your own person. No monoculture and no mainstream. Keep off the treadmill.” (Nicole Zachmann) Nicole Zachmann succeeds, without a hint of nostalgia, in using an exciting mixture of intimacy, aesthetic sensibility and carefree lightness to re-create the lifestyle of those stylistically confusing years between Punk and Pop culture.