A FRENCH photojournalist has given a fascinating snapshot of life in the capital shortly after Margaret Thatcher came to power.
Yan Morvan, who has travelled to more than 20 war zones as a photographer, arrived in the UK six months after Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979.
“I was working for a photo agency in France and I said ‘if something happens in the UK because Thatcher is there I want to go and record it'”, he recalled.
“So I went in November 1979 and I spent a month in London.”
Yan pictured Britain’s mod revival spurred on the bands such as The Jam, as well as skinheads he described as being “rebels against the system”.
He told the Sun Online: “With the mods and skinheads…it was a kind of fashion by then in London. The people who I met were very friendly and there were no problems, even though I was French.”
Yan later returned to Britain in 1981 during the Brixton riots in April 1981 and stayed three months for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Describing the Brixton riots he said: “Compared to events like that now, for instance with the ‘yellow vests’ in France, there weren’t many photographers. It was so different.
“Now you see 100 people taking photos and TV crews but then there were only two or three photographers.
“It didn’t seem too aggressive…I never felt like I was in danger.
“It was people screaming, shouting and throwing stones. Police arrested people but many of them seemed to be drunk.
“If they were in France the police would have killed them!”
Describing the changes he’d noticed when he returned to Britain 40 years later, he said: “People were talking to each other back then.
“Now people don’t talk anymore.”
Yan has put his London pictures together for an exhibition in April.
Yan has taken pictures of gangs in France for more than 40 years with his subjects ranging from the Hell’s Angels to Skinheads.
He created a massive body of work showing an insight into gang culture, the violence behind it and how many gangsters live in squats.
His work proved dangerous as in 1995, he was held hostage and tortured for three weeks by French serial killer Guy Georges, while he was in the midst of his killing spree.
But Yan returned to his job shooting pictures in some of the French capital’s poorest areas.
In 2000, he released a book full of his gritty pictures called “Gangs Story” and it gained worldwide interest.