WHAT is your instinct when you see someone with extreme hair, outlandish clothes or strange make-up?

Do you cross the road? Avert your eyes? Ask for a photograph?

Anita Corbin, a young woman living in London in the early Eighties, did the latter. The result was a stunning collection of images of teenage “rebel” girls, featuring mods and punks, skinheads and rude girls as well as rockabillies and those from the soul, Rasta and futurist camps.

You can see the originals for yourself if you are in the capital - her exhibition, Visible Girls, is on show at Metro Imaging.

I caught them on the news earlier this week, alongside interviews with the women, now in their 50s.

York Press:

Anita Corbin's Visible Girls, as they were in 1981, and as they are today

What stood out was how normal they all looked today. Gone were the shock hairstyles, the strong eye-makeup and statement fashions. Instead, here was a bunch of conventional-looking, middle-aged women, with respectable careers. Not a shaved head, out-of-place piercing, or offensive T-shirt in sight.

I know what that transformation is like. I was a rebel teen, alongside my partner in crime, twin sister Yvonne. My parents despaired as we morphed from two perfectly average girls into the sort of teens you would cross the road to avoid, avert your gaze - or, yes, take a photo. Such were our extremes of hair, make-up and dress, we would be stopped byJapanese tourists in our home city of Edinburgh and asked to pose for a snap.

We bought our clothes from jumble sales and second-hand shops. I had a sewing machine, and altered them or made my own. I once made a dress for my sister from a used double sheet; it was so worn that when she ‘premiered’ it on a night out, it gave way, leaving a giant hole near her backside. Another mishap was when I wore a pencil skirt made out of pyjama bottoms. It was so tight that when I ran for the bus, the split ripped, revealing a bit too much thigh for the classroom. I had to get off and go home and change.

It was fun dressing up in outrageous gear. There was no uniform policy at our secondary school, so we got away with fashion murder. We wore plastic rain macs in the chemistry lab and refused to take them off. Goodness knows why the teacher let us within an inch of a Bunsen burner. In reality, our hair was more of a fire hazard, its gravity-defying height held up by half a can of Revlon each day.

York Press:

Maxine and her sister Yvonne, left, before their transformation with hairdye and hairspray

We began dying our hair with henna aged 14. But after meeting one of our pop idols, Annie Lennox, backstage after a Eurythmics gig, we upped the ante. Annie kindly revealed the secrets of her bright orange hair colour. She bleached it first then added a Crazy Colour dye in tangerine.

That Saturday, we bought the supplies and duly followed suit. I went for the orange, my sister pillar-box red. My parents didn’t really put their foot down until I shaved one side of my head completely (a la Grace Jones). Dad went ballistic and threw out all our clothes. I’ve forgiven him, just.

It all came to an end when we went to university. Thinking I had to be more conservative at college, I dyed my hair brown and got a bob. Imagine the feeling when I saw a student with a pink Mohican at a tutorial.

Like the Visible Girls, I too am heading towards my 50s. Sure I look pretty normal. No one would give me a second look if I walked down Princes Street or Coney Street today. But I suspect, like them, once a rebel, always a rebel.

It takes a certain kind of courage to step outside knowing the rest of the world probably thinks you look a state, or scary or worse.

A courage that hopefully stays with you forever.

Were you a Visible Girl?

Anita has managed to track down most of the Visible Girls, but is still looking for some. If you can help, contact her via her website: anitacorbin.com

The exhibition is running at Metro Imaging, 32 Great Sutton Street, London, EC1V0NB. Open Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm until May 27, 2016.