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Holly Whitaker

Photographer — London

Photo: Ellen Offredy

Name, where are you from?
Holly, London

Describe your style in three words?
Jeans + nice top.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
One was definitely Thee Oh Sees at Green Man 2017, their presence and sound on stage is absolutely mesmerising, I just went to see Young Fathers and their live show is so incredible, really exciting to watch.

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Women in 70s Punk/Ska - Siouxsie, The Slits, Poly Styrene, Pauline Black and others were the first people to really inspire me to do music photography; capturing women in a very male-heavy environment doing more exciting music and defying the sexism/racism/lack of respect they received in the venues they played and industry they were involved in.

Northern Soul as well. The music and fashion and dancing really intrigued me - my dad used to go to Wigan Casino to dance and I’ve loved the culture of it ever since he told me stories.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Poly Styrene I think! For so many reasons, she was just incredible, everyone should read up on her!


Holly Whitaker has photographed many of the bands that have emerged from the London and Brixton scene, including Goat Girl, Black Midi, Shame, Jockstrap and Nilüfer Yanya, to name just a few, establishing herself as one of the prominent documenters of the movement. Her work has appeared in Femme Collective, Clash and other forward-looking publications. 

Find out more at www.holly-whitaker.com

Follow Holly Whitaker on Instagram at @hollyemmw

The first track you played on repeat?
I think 'Freak Like Me', although the first CD I bought myself was 'Because We Want To' by Billie Piper from a charity shop when I was around the same age; tough call.

A song that defines the teenage you?
Teenage school years probably 'Grace' - Jeff Buckley, we studied it for music GCSE and it's been burned into my mind ever since.
'Zombie' - Fela Kuti also really reminds me of my time at A Level, the only music I listened to for a long time.

One record you would keep forever?
Electric Warrior by T. Rex, I also can’t stop listening to 'We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service'.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
The Chorus of Delta 5 - 'Mind Your Own Business'!

A song you wished you had written?
Maybe 'Night on Earth' - Jerkcurb

Best song to turn up loud?
'New Rose' - The Damned! And 'I Don’t Care Pt. 2' by Goat Girl (the outro especially).

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'I Wish' - Skee-Lo

The song to get you straight on the dance floor?
'Raingurl' - Yaeji
'Flowers' - Sweet Female Attitude
'I Feel Love' - Donna summer

Best song to end an all-nighter?
'To Love Somebody' - Nina Simone or 'Fantastic Man' - William Onyeabor.
They’re usually a nice way to end a night if you’ve been up or out for 1000 years.

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Squid, Black Midi, Italia 90, Kokoroko.

Photo: Ellen Offredy

Name, where are you from?
Holly, London

Describe your style in three words?
Jeans + nice top.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
One was definitely Thee Oh Sees at Green Man 2017, their presence and sound on stage is absolutely mesmerising, I just went to see Young Fathers and their live show is so incredible, really exciting to watch.

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Women in 70s Punk/Ska - Siouxsie, The Slits, Poly Styrene, Pauline Black and others were the first people to really inspire me to do music photography; capturing women in a very male-heavy environment doing more exciting music and defying the sexism/racism/lack of respect they received in the venues they played and industry they were involved in.

Northern Soul as well. The music and fashion and dancing really intrigued me - my dad used to go to Wigan Casino to dance and I’ve loved the culture of it ever since he told me stories.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Poly Styrene I think! For so many reasons, she was just incredible, everyone should read up on her!


Holly Whitaker has photographed many of the bands that have emerged from the London and Brixton scene, including Goat Girl, Black Midi, Shame, Jockstrap and Nilüfer Yanya, to name just a few, establishing herself as one of the prominent documenters of the movement. Her work has appeared in Femme Collective, Clash and other forward-looking publications. 

Find out more at www.holly-whitaker.com

Follow Holly Whitaker on Instagram at @hollyemmw

The first track you played on repeat?
I think 'Freak Like Me', although the first CD I bought myself was 'Because We Want To' by Billie Piper from a charity shop when I was around the same age; tough call.

A song that defines the teenage you?
Teenage school years probably 'Grace' - Jeff Buckley, we studied it for music GCSE and it's been burned into my mind ever since.
'Zombie' - Fela Kuti also really reminds me of my time at A Level, the only music I listened to for a long time.

One record you would keep forever?
Electric Warrior by T. Rex, I also can’t stop listening to 'We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service'.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
The Chorus of Delta 5 - 'Mind Your Own Business'!

A song you wished you had written?
Maybe 'Night on Earth' - Jerkcurb

Best song to turn up loud?
'New Rose' - The Damned! And 'I Don’t Care Pt. 2' by Goat Girl (the outro especially).

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'I Wish' - Skee-Lo

The song to get you straight on the dance floor?
'Raingurl' - Yaeji
'Flowers' - Sweet Female Attitude
'I Feel Love' - Donna summer

Best song to end an all-nighter?
'To Love Somebody' - Nina Simone or 'Fantastic Man' - William Onyeabor.
They’re usually a nice way to end a night if you’ve been up or out for 1000 years.

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Squid, Black Midi, Italia 90, Kokoroko.

Holly Whitaker