Check Out These Awesome Photos From the Birth of Punk
A temporary display at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery explores the birth of UK punk through 40 photographs by Kevin Cummins and Ian Dickson, as the movement celebrates its 40th anniversary.
The 40 images are on display until 5 March are document the phenomenon’s early years from 1976-79, in London, Manchester and Liverpool. The display, in Brighton Museum’s Prints & Drawings Gallery, surveys Cummins’ and Dickson’s work as they documented the early days of punk.
This is the first time the photographers have shared an exhibit, bringing together images The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, Buzzcocks and Siouxsie & the Banshees, as well as punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
Initially self-taught, Ian Dickson started photographing rock stars in 1972 and joined the NME in 1973. After a short stint with National Rockstar, he was offered the position of staff photographer with Sounds, and was in the front line when UK punk exploded in 1976.
Ian says: “In my view, punk was the last great youth movement that still reverberates today – which is why there is still so much interest in events that happened 40 years ago.
“The time since then has really flown but the images themselves still seem so fresh, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with both those who were there and later generations.”
After studying photography in Salford Kevin Cummins quickly became the premier documenter of Manchester’s burgeoning punk scene. He had a 25-year career with the NME, where he became chief photographer, going on to be a founding contributor of The Face and a contributor to myriad national and international publications.
Kevin says: “Photographing punk when it hit Manchester was my first foray into the world of music photography, where I went on to make my career.
“The city was a key location for the development of UK punk and post-punk, and I’m proud that these now-iconic images are being showcased 40 years later in another creative city like Brighton.”
A Gibson guitar heavily used by original Damned member and Brighton resident Captain Sensible is also on display in the Museum’s adjacent Fashion Gallery, along with a distinctive stage outfit.
Captain Sensible said: “This guitar has been thoroughly road-tested in typical Damned fashion – having been set on fire and attacked with an axe. Amazingly, it has survived to tell the tale!”