Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Photo Book Documents the L.A. Punk Scene

by Stephen J. Gertz


When photographer Ann Summa arrived in Los Angeles in 1978 the city’s newly born punk scene was fertile territory for a young photographer. The Beautiful & the Damned is a collection of her portraits of the musicians, artists and fans who made Los Angeles such a crucial part of the history of punk.

Exene Cervenka and James White
Taken between 1978 and 1984, Summa’s photographs feature the Germs, the Screamers, X, the Cramps, and the Gun Club, among many others, along with pioneering performance artists the Kipper Kids, Johanna Went and Laurie Anderson.

Iggy Pop
The book also features portraits of key artists from London and New York. From the U.K., the Clash, Magazine, the Fall, the Slits, Bow Wow Wow, and the Pretenders are amongst others photographed in L.A. during their first U.S. tours. The scene in New York is represented by Television, James Chance, Lydia Lunch, and Talking Heads.

Joe Strummer of the Clash.

Captain Beefheart, Iggy Pop, David Bowie - each an inspiration to L.A. punks - plus candid shots of unidentified audience members are at home here. Edited and with an introduction by L.A.'s writing queen of the music scene, Kristine McKenna, and a Preface by Exene Cervenka, The Beautiful & The Damned includes ninety-five previously unpublished images.

Lux Interior of The Cramps

If you have any interest whatsoever in the Punk scene and fine photography get The Beautiful and the Damned. It rocks the Casbah, and, I suspect, will soon become a rare book, the limited editions sooner rather than later.
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Arcana: Books on the Arts is the sole retailer on the West Coast for Limited Editions of The Beautiful and the Damned, and have copies of the Iggy Pop and Joe Strummer photos available at the publisher's price of $150.00 per. The publisher, Foggy Notion, has mandated a price increase once the first ten of each have been sold, and Arcana has the last few copies of the John Doe and Exene edition available at $200.00. Limited edition copies are accompanied by a signed trade edition of the book, a special slipcase created specifically for the limited edition, and a signed, original photograph printed by photographer, Ann Summa.
Order the trade edition:
Hardbound / 9 x 12" / 112 pages / 182 b&w illustrations.
Published by Foggy Notion Books / Smart Art Press
$39.95 - Copies signed by Ann Summa while they last!
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All images are ©Ann Summa and cannot be reproduced without the express permission of the photographer.
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