In January 2016 I had an exhibition at the Punctum Gallery in London – the show was called Punk Hip Hop MashUp.  In honor of London’s 40th Anniversary of Punk and being back in my home town I decided to do a Punk MashUp. I asked my artist friends from back in those days, who were connected with British music and culture from 1976 to 1982, to reinterpret my photographs. Here are a few of them with their comments about why they chose to work on those particular images:


CHRISTOS TOLERA “My immediate response to this image was the recognition of the similarity between this and Sir John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ and the ecstasy so closely associated with death. I was inspired to make more of this and at the same time draw attention to the futility of peaceful protest in the times we live in. The man playing air guitar in the original image is re-imagined dying, dropping the white Poppies which had symbolised peace in his hands for us to be reminded that war continues unabated. The title ‘I Feel Ya’ is a play on words referring to the original inspiration whilst at the same time describing both the old and new images. 

The artist Christos Tolera was born, lives and works in London. After a short lived pop career as a member of 80’s latin funk jazz outfit Blue Rondo A La Turk he eventually settled into the career of an artist as a painter and occasional actor. He has never quite managed to avoid the spotlight nor does it seem he wants to.


SUE TILLEY: “I have always been a huge fan of Boy George and think that his influence on the world and his song writing abilities are very underestimated. I was thrilled to be one of the main characters in his musical ‘Taboo’ which was performed in the West End and on Broadway. I wanted to make the photo painterly so used thick red paint to cover up the background. In the picture I sprayed the gold paint to mimic the drips on Leigh Bowery’s head as George played him in ‘Taboo’. I used the cut up letters to spell out the lyrics of one of my favourite songs and to answer some of the horrible treatment he has received from newspapers. They are also a nod to the punk sensibility of Jamie Reid.”

When Sue Tilley left college she went to sign on and they enlisted her to work in the dole office, finally leaving last year after 37 years. While working there she embraced the London night life scene, working on the door at Taboo and The Wag Club and regularly crawling into work with appalling hangovers. She met Leigh Bowery in a night club who was to become her best friend and a huge influence in her life. After he died in 1993 she wrote his biography which has become a bit of a cult classic. Bowery introduced her to Lucian Freud who painted her 4 times.

HORACE PANTER “Why did you choose this image?  Easy … I’m the guy first from the right in the photo!

Horace Panter graduated from Lanchester Polytechnic (Coventry) in 1975 with a BAHons in Fine Art and a basic knowledge of the bass guitar. Joined fellow Coventry alumni Jerry Dammers in The Specials until the bands demise in 1982. Taught art in Coventry from 1998-2008, played bass when The Specials reformed (to the present day). “The band, although an incredible live unit, was fragmented and unhappy at the time the photograph was taken. I’ve tried to accentuate that – seven individuals as opposed to a group.”


KOSMO: I’ve loved both pictures of the twins forever – I think the parka one was in the first issue of The Face wasn’t it? Anyway I think one of the greatest things about British Punk Rock was the Punk/Dread Alliance, both scenes could see kindred spirits in each other and how their enemies were common to both. I always felt that the Two Tone Explosion was a product of this and that it had produced a brand new species. I remember Ranking Roger of The Beat getting up on stage with The Clash and singing “White Riot” – he was so into it- afterwards he told me “I’d always wanted to do that song on stage”. I’ve just tried to capture some of that lightning.”

The former Londoner turned New Yorker, Kosmo Vinyl, is perhaps best known for his work with Ian Dury & The Blockheads and The Clash. Starting out at Stiff Records in 1976, he became a key figure in the London-based music scene. These days Kosmo’s artistic blow-by-blow account of his existence as a long distance fan of West Ham United soccer team is documented in the blog “Is Saitch Yer Daddy,” The title comes from some cryptic East London graffiti from his youth. “You could see it just past Bromley By Bow station, when taking the District Line Underground train east, en route to Upton Park, home of The Hammers.”


MARCO : “I choose Joe Strummer  because is a wonderful singer with guts and brain. When I was doing the painting of the photo I put a union jack ripped, because Joe represent his country like no one and at the same time was critic towards it, so he destroy what is wack in England and at the same time put the english music to a huge level, the one that this country deserved for all the incredible tracks it brought to the world, cause the crown sucks, but his people kill !!!! It’s the only country that can step against the huge US music machine, like the Beatles or the Stones they fuckin did it. ” This is England!!”I also wrote some of my favorite title of the band, like a medley written all around him, cause all this came out of this man. I never been a fan in my life, but I’m a big time Clash supporter!!! Revolution Rock!!!”

I was a graffiti vandal, I did architecture studies, I’m now making films, and still keep on writing graffiti ( Not street art), and sometimes I even tattoo…. Art is the expression of emotion, and if people can feel it, then it is. My name is Marc-Aurèle Vecchione, people call me Marco, I write Orel -you choose!!


PAM HOGG ” Knowing I was good friends with Siouxee, Janette suggested i worked on her image, so of course it was a great choice for me, I loved the photo. I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil, it seemed the most natural thing to do, and I’ve been doing it all my life.”



I’m interested in what could be. I especially enjoy making portraits and I’m excited by the process of collaboration. I love conversation. I’m obsessed by music. I’m looking forward to what happens next.” Ian Wright is an artist, he worked for The Face & NME back in the day. He has also been supplying me with the best compilation mix tapes, CD’s and MP3’s since 1979.

AND MORE great pieces were created by: Lorraine Kinman (Costume Designer,worked with Vivien Westwood and Boy), Ian’Swifty’ (Graphic Designer, Straight No Chaser, Talkin’ Loud), Hattie Stewart (Illustrator), Dan Holiday (Artist), Chris Sullivan (Journalist, DJ, artist, Blue Rondo A La Turk, the Wag), Princess Julia (Writer, painter, ID Magazine Blitz, PX). Kash (Graffiti artist and painter). Soon to be seen on my website …

The Jam


Pete Townsend said; ‘The Jam were a very real manifestation of the kind of band I would have wanted to be in myself’.”

An exhibition ‘The Jam – About The Young Idea” just opened at Somerset House in London, the band symbolized life for Britain’s disenchanted youth during the late 70s and early 80s. I photographed them several times and documented their farewell concert in Brighton which ran in Melody Maker in 1982 (below).



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

ICP class this summer

I will be teaching my ‘Youth Culture’ Portrait & Documentary Photography’ summer class again at ICP in July. Classes will be on Wednesday afternoons July 10 through August 7.

This year I taught a ‘Youth Culture’ workshop with Stella Kramer in Caracas- it made the New Yorker blog – we did 3 days of 12 hour classes – work !! the students took some great photographs.

Below is a photograph of a group of Mods at a festival in Scotland that I shot  for the iconic style and culture magazine The Face back in the UK Punk days.

Made in New York- the 1980’s

Inspired by Penguin paperbacks, fanzines and artist Edward Ruscha’s series, I decided to self publish these small books in a limited edition featuring mostly unseen photographs from my archives of the times.  Order them from me directly or get them at Bookmarc and Dashwood. The third book ‘Made in New York -the 1980’s’ is just out.

Baracuta Harrington Jacket

I am a big fan of the Harrington – always wanted a red one – had a blue one  – left it at some concert.  The Harrington jacket was worn by most everyone, punks, mods, skins, ska kids, in the UK. I photographed The Specials on the ‘Seaside Tour’ in 1980 – Jerry Dammers, a very stylish bloke, was wearing a red Harrington  jacket.

The first-ever Harrington jacket was created by Baracuta founders and brothers, John & Isaac Miller in 1937. The G9 earned the nickname Harrington because it was worn by the character Rodney Harrington (played by Ryan ONeal) in the 1960s television programme Peyton Place.

Baracuta showed some some of my photos at their fashion show in Florence last week. Two of my favorite DJ’s were playing Norman Jay and Giles Peterson, I’ve been listening to their  mixes for years. Just goes to show as always : Fashion and Music go hand in hand.

International Center of Photography – my summer course

I am teaching a workshop on Youth Culture, documentary and street photography at the International Center of Photography in NYC this July. Everyone is welcome –  film and digital

I’ve been documenting street style and youth culture ever since I first spotted the ‘Islington Twins’ in the school yard of the college I was teaching at in London back in 1977. My blog is the Archive of Attitude and to my mind street style and youth culture express just that  – it is about the style and attitude (see my photo of ‘Mod Girl London 1976’ above)

Youth culture and street styles are important in the history of photography – photographer’s have been documenting them since August Sander first took photos of the working population in Germany in the late 19th Century, Danny Lyon shot bikers in America in the 1960’s and Jamel Shabazz shot the hip hop kids he saw on the street in New York in the 1980’s. Today photographers like Bill Cunningham at the NY Times and the Satorialist document current fashion on the street.

These days when every face on magazine covers looks ‘perfect’ – not a hair out of place, not a wrinkle – it is even more important to document and appreciate the amazing people we see everyday on the streets.

I shot this photograph of Run DMC and posse on the street where they lived in Queens in 1984.

Occupy Wall Street demonstration 2011

Claude Serieux in Paris 2012.

Pete Townshend

Just found this photo I shot backstage at The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1981. Pete Townshend getting made up and Paula Yates in the background in a fluffy dress.

Quality Mending, the Jam fans & Bob’s Big Boy

In 1936 Bob Wian sold his DeSoto Roadster to start a diner in California The inspiration for the name ‘Bob’s Big Boy’, and model for its mascot, was six year old Richard Woodruff  who walked into the diner as the owner was trying to figure out what to call  his new hamburger. Wian said, “Hello, Big Boy” to the kid. The rest is history. It became a nationwide franchise and in some areas a biker hangout.

The Quality Mending Company on Prince St has a gang of the BBB dolls for sale – each franchise made it’s own doll, some were darker skinned black BBB guys, some were chunkier, some had lighter hair, but they are all have that same grin.

Oliver, the owner of Quality mending Company, has collected some of the best American vintage clothing in NYC. He collaborates with artists decorate the store’s outside wall the on Elizabeth St – I was lucky to have him make a huge mural of my photo of  Jam fans one summer.

The Islington Twins Style

I first met The Islington Twins,  Chuka and Dubem Okonkwo, in 1977 when they were attending the college in Clerkenwell where I was teaching photography. I spotted them one lunchtime leaning against a wall in the school yard impeccably dressed in identical parkas, pork pie hats, Sta-Prest trousers, Frank Wright loafers and sunglasses, finishing each other’s sentences, and asked if I could photograph them. That photo ran full page in The Face mag in 1980 – soon after they became local celebs, hosting ‘The Bar’ an informal gathering which took place daily by ‘the bar’ the yellow and black horizontal pole that stopped cars from entering the road to Islington tube station.  I discovered we lived on the same street in Highbury and later I photographed them again for The Face in perfect ‘Rude Boy’ style, Fred Perry shirts, Loafers, Harrington jackets, matching sunglasses and black berets, on our street.

Those clothes are still relevant today Fred Perry is launching a line designed by Amy Winehouse   Brands like Kangol are making new ‘pork pie’ and ‘beret’ styles. Loafers are still popular, as is the skinny trousers and sunglasses look, a requisite for every hipster.

The Autumn/Winter issue of  British GQ Style a bi-annual magazine features my original photo of the ‘Rude Boys’ and the Twins’  who are still stylin’ today. They are wearing Dunhill shirts, Lock & Co Hats, and Trickers brogues, classic brands.