Youth Culture




“Back then it was down to earth photographs taken in scruffy clubs or backstage changing rooms. Today everything is so ‘thought about’ image-concious, marketed and packaged. I know which I prefer. ” Sir Paul Smith Menswear Designer and British Style Icon

Three months ago the United Photo Industries crew Dave, Laura and Sam came by my studio – they asked me to curate a show for the opening night of Photoville: the best music photographs from the last 4 decades, we called it ‘Down & Dirty’. They were also drawn to the ‘MashUp’ project that I had hanging on the wall (legends from the graffiti world painting on my old school hip hop photos).

I’ve spent the last three months combing through rock n roll music images and the result is ‘Down & Dirty’ on display in a shipping container at Photoville, there is a free limited edition newspaper and of course the slide show which will be shown on Thursday during the opening night party. Plus extra bonus is a mega ‘MashUp’ created by artists Cey Adams and Queen Andrea on the side of our container (visible to the folk stuck in traffic on the BQE)


This show endeavors to highlight some of the great photographers that have documented music over the last four decades. These photographers followed bands capturing whatever they could, from intimate moments at home to fans crowd surfing at concerts, to gritty backstage scenes. The images were mostly created without the help of hair and makeup, stylists, no management in sight, just the photographer and the musician(s). Photographers, some you’ll have heard of and some not but you will know their images – such as Roberta Bayley, Godlis and Bob Gruen who captured the East Coast punk scene, Mick Rock who hung out with Bowie and Iggy and shot the glam rock scene, Chalkie Davis who shot the 2 Tone scene in the UK, David Corio and Adrian Boot who shot UK punk and reggae in Jamaica, Glen E Freidman who shot West coast punk, hip hop and skateboard culture, Danny Clinch ‘s photographs of so many genres from Tupac to Johnny Cash, Lawrence Watson’s post punk Brit pop, Jonathan Mannion, Michael Lavine’s 90’s hip hop, Michael Putland’s classic rock, Mel D Cole’s modern hip hop classics and the list goes on.

None of this would have been possible without the help of Julie Grahame (for those that don’t know Julie ran one of the world’s biggest music photo agencies), AmandaGorence fabulous photo editor and producer, and the Photoville posse who were crazy enough to ask me to do this.

And the beat goes on! Hope to see you at the opening this Thursday



Black Panther Film Festival

Sad to hear about the passing of the brilliant director Albert Maysles (above) who I photographed at the 3rd Annual Black Panther Film festival. He directed ‘Gimme Shelter’ and ‘Grey Gardens’ amongst so many great documentaries.

A huge fan of his work, I asked if I could take a portrait of him after the screening of a documentary about the Angola 3 at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem. I took a couple of shots’ he asked to see them and declared I needed to get in closer and reshoot them. The final shot (above) got his approval. Thank you Mr Maysles.

Neneh Cherry

Last night Neneh Cherry played an amazing concert at the Highline in NYC – it was stronger, wilder, more soul than ever. I had not seen her perform since 1981 in Scotland when I photographed her post punk band Rip Rig and Panic (below) for Melody Maker.


In July, on a hot summer night ,over 400 people converged on my studio to see the JB_HIP HOP MASHUP. From an idea curated by artist Cey Adams,  a list of his artist friends were sent a selection of my hip hop photos, they each chose an image to re-interpret in their own distinct styles. In true hip hop spirit the idea of re mixing and making something new from something old  – the MashUp came together.

We collaborated with the wonderful Juliet Silva Yee from Pop Up Art Event (PUAE) to make the event happen

Original artworks were created on archival prints by  Chino (Stetsasonic), Claw Money (Salt ‘n Pepa), Eric Adams (Flavor Flav), Faust (Afrika Bambaataa), Jester (EPMD), Morning Breath (Slick Rick), Revolt (Ultramagnetic MC’s), Trike (Dr Dre), Alice Mizrachi(Beastie Boys), T Kid (Fab 5 Freddy), Greg Lamarche (Big Daddy Kane),and Sharp (Donald D & Grandmixer DST)

I shot portraits of all the artists and each one gave a short description of why they chose the image and how they got their start in the world of graffiti.  Each one has a story, T Kid tells me ” I started writing graffiti at 12 years old when I was drafted into the neighborhood gang my first tag was king13 at 16 years of age (1977) after getting shot due to gang violence I changed my name to Tkid170 and became a king of subway graffiti I tagged the park I played in it was on Morrison Ave and Watson Ave South Bronx then it was nothing but subway cars”

‘BarStarzz’ Coney Island 4th July weekend

HVW8 Rebel Cultures: Punks Rap Gangs

My show at HVW8 Gallery for Art & Design in LA opened last Thursday, big thanks to Tyler, Nikolai, and Addison for throwing a great party, as well as my girl Jen from Art Duet for kicking it up and getting press from the likes of Jay ZComplexLA Weekly (Jake you rule) and Brent Rollins for the photo above. The show is called ‘Rebel Cultures.Punks, Rap, Gangs’ : images from British punk era, LA punk scene, Old School Hip Hop, and the East LA Hoyo Maravilla gang series.

HVW8 Gallery  is at 661 N Spaulding below Melrose Open Tues-Sun 1-6pm until May 18 2014

Ultimate B-Boy Championship 2014

One night in January at a gym in midtown Manhattan five chosen ‘Grand Masters’ battled for the title of Ultimate B-Boy and the bragging rights of being #1 in the world. The Ultimate B-Boy Championship was organized by the one and only Mr Freeze, veteran b-boy from back in the day. The inventor of scratching,DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, played while the five Grand Masters showed off their moves in front of the judges and a critical b-boy audience who jumped in during breaks to show off their own styles . The judges eventually awarded the title and $5,000 cash prize to Gravity who hails from NY.

Graffiti Artists

I first became aware of graffiti in London in 1982 – taking photos of the first hip hop tour to come to Europe for Melody Maker I met Futura and Dondi White who tagged the dumpster outside the hotel for my photo (see above), or maybe just because that was what they did. Earlier that month I had photographed American rapper J Walter Negro painting a mural of New York trains for the Christmas cover of the magazine. I loved this new art

Moving to New York later that year the art was everywhere. Commissioned by style magazine ‘The Face’ to photograph the Rock Steady Crew I went to Harlem to shoot them break dancing on a piece of cardboard in front of a huge mural of a tiger’s head. I photographed BDP aka Boogie Down Productions in the Bronx in front of a graffiti covered wall, Salt & Pepa on the Lower East Side, Bambaata and members of the Zulu Nation in the Bronx,Eric B and Rakim in NYC with graffiti behind them, Stetsasonic in Brooklyn posing with the Stetson sign covered in tags and stickers.I wondered who these unknown artists were that painted the backdrops for so many of my photographs.

In 1983 I was in Los Angeles documenting the East LA gang El Hoyo Maravilla – their turf was centered around the Hoyo Maravilla park and clearly marked by the local artists. East LA was covered in paintings too I shot punk band The Undertakers (below) at their rehearsal space in the barrio.

And today I am still thanking amazing artists like Cope2 for giving so much ‘Flava; to my photographs, and providing a time line for these images in the future.

GoHardBoyz The Bronx 2013


The Go Hard Boyz

In 1999 Shea Evans and Don Villnueva, both Harlem dirt bike ‘warriors’, decided to form the movement they called the Go Hard Boyz (GHB). The GHB quickly grew and now has members all over the world – dirt bike and ATV riders and extreme sports specialists  – living a lifestyle in urban communities and rural suburbs Their unique riding style and attitude has spread far and wide The logo a mask with a backward baseball cap represents ‘their mantra “Do It With Style’ which is how they ride. Dirt bike riding is illegal in NYC and riders often get harassed and chased by the NYPD,

One summer afternoon I met Shea in Harlem – he introduced me to some of the GHB posse – they seemed like a family (above GHB on the stoop in Harlem).  Shea took me me to the Bronx to take photos of the GHB, we rode in the flat bed  of his cousin’s F150 pick up truck on the Bruckner expressway shooting the Go Hard Boyz doing wheelies, showing their skills through Harlem and the Bronx on a hot summers day. Shea tells me “It’s Bigger than Bikes”.

GHB riding on the Bruckner Expressway, the Bronx

Bike Life

Riding in the Bronx

Youngster riding in the Bronx in front of Cope mural

GHB posse on 158th Street Harlem

Brooklyn Girls Fight Club

One night I went to photograph the illegal girl fight scene in Brownsville.Legendary fighters from Mike Tyson to Riddick Bowe all grew up in the Brownsville public housing projects like Marcus Garvey and Tilden.

The girl fights are organized by the local ‘boys from the hood’ and publicized by word of mouth, the location is kept secret up to the day of the fight. Held in a huge windowless garage on a dark industrial street, pit bulls chained up in the back room, a boxing ring assembled in the middle of the space, security guards searching everyone as they come in.  The place is jam packed, people of all ages, folks with babies, local youth, and the girls who are going to fight, some as young as 14 years old. There is no admission charge and the fighters are paid with proceeds from gambling on the fights.

The brawlers are recruited from the street, they fight at the club to further establish their rep in the neighborhood and to get a shot at the prize money.The girls have to fight hard or no one gets paid, the winner gets $1000. The rules are “No grabbing. No kicking. No scratching. No hair pulling. No biting. Three rounds. Ninety seconds a round.”.

‘Boys from the hood’ take bets on the fight

Girls fight and the crowd goes crazy