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About

Punk Survivors focuses on artists from the first decade of punk rock (from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s), although it does include key figures that were important influences on punk and others from the periphery.

Before I became a teenager I became captivated by this exciting phenomenon which began by discovering records by The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Damned and Ian Dury amongst others back in 1976. I spent my pocket money on records, started going to gigs in 1978 and also formed a group who supported the Angelic Upstarts and Infa Riot when I was 15. I have carried throughout my life many of the philosophies that spawned under punk like DIY, rebelling against injustice and striving to be creative.

Over three decades have passed since then and I wanted to pay tribute to the myriad of figures from this music. I use the work punk as a simple catch-all phrase to describe the wide variety of music, art and people of this new wave that emerged in this time rather than a limiting lowest common denominator. When I used to peruse the racks of 7” singles back then there were never clear demarcations between most of the acts of that time. For example, the same shelves would hold records by the Sex Pistols, Crass, Ian Dury, The Fall, Wreckless Eric, Motorhead and Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, all very different and yet all somehow connected like a loose family. Punk Survivors aims to continue this tradition and does not differentiate between these different musical strands like many musical commentators always do. This project therefore re-unites this array of different characters once more with a similar outlook.

Punk has been heavily documented as a youth sub-culture but I wanted to do a documentary study of these artists as older people. Many of these personalities still play regularly, produce records, travel extensively and hold on to their original defining principles. Some are iconic figures who are rightfully recognised as giants of the genre. Others are far more obscure who maybe only made one great record or due to one reason or another never got that much recognition. But all of them have made their mark one way or another and are a legitimate part of the complete punk history.

These intimate portraits show these figures up close and personal. I choose to shoot in the natural daylight without flash and in a similar environment to much of the original punk photography. It is important to me to work with much of the same aesthetics as three decades ago with none of the glossy post-production that so common nowadays. The artists are depicted as ordinary mortals, stripped of ego with their faces telling their individual stories. Overall, my aim is to always shoot a dignified portrait. To date, just under 200 portraits have been taken although just 60 are featured here.

If you are an artist who wishes to be photographed for this portfolio please get in contact with me.

I wish to thank a few people whose help has been invaluable to do this work: Liam McGurk, Chris Jones, Fred Burns, Gav Rickwood, Steve Metcalfe and Philip King in particular.