It's 1995 in The Independent/Hulton Getty Picture Collection's 98 For '98 - The Year in Photographs. Taken on the seafront in Havana, Cuba, this picture captures the laid-back, vibrant quality of youth. On the other side of the Atlantic, British youth seemed to be making mincemeat of older traditions. This was the year that 30-year-old Damien Hirst was awarded the Turner Prize and Oasis reached new audiences with the release of their second album, (What's The Story) Morning Glory. Both events were surrounded with hype and began a new style: sensationalist, spontaneous and irreverent - the traditional characteristics of youth writ large.
On receiving the prestigious art award, Hirst said: "It's amazing what you can do with an E in A-level art, a twisted imagination and a chainsaw." The "brat pack" of young British artists was born - and they, like pop stars, attracted as much attention to their lifestyles as their work.
The real pop stars were not to be outdone. The prelude to the release of Oasis's second album was filled with headline-grabbing antics by Liam and Noel; no insult was too great, as when Noel said he hoped Blur's Damon Albarn would die of Aids. The tabloids swallowed it whole, and such was the fervour of the "battle of the bands'' that even the broadsheets covered it.
It was the beginnings of something which would reach much further than youth culture - and became branded as "Cool Britannia".
In the United States, Bill Gates was fashioning a new look for the computer generation. The Windows '95 package was touted as fulfilment for all your fast-clicking desires, making computers easier to use and more reliable. Computers also meant that physical characteristics could now be recorded, and the first national computer database of DNA records in the world was located in Birmingham.
Photo 98 is a series of high-profile national events and exhibitions, for information contact 01484 559 888 or www.photo98.com.
Current Exhibitions: `Four Frontiers: The work of Keith Piper'. As part of 10 x 98 European Commissions, a series of exhibitions by 10 international artists that asks important questions about the nature of Europe and its changing political, economic and cultural identities. To 28 June at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford.
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