Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Punks

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From 1976 to 1977, Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon documented the London punk scene revolving around the Roxy in Covent Garden and the Global Village in Charing Cross. The first prints from their Punks series were originally presented at The Photographers’ Gallery in 1978, and featured many years later, in 2012, at Tate Britain in the retrospective titled Another London. Knorr and Richon sought a direct engagement with their subjects, clearly affirming their own presence with a formal and unconcealed approach, through static scenes and embalmed poses frozen in an infinite instant by the cold light of the flash. It almost seems as if they wanted us to experience the tension looming over the state of things by creating a timeless testimony of what they encountered. The signs displayed during the enacted ritual were swastikas, the union Jack, safety pins, loosened black leather jackets filled with painted writing, ripped jeans, heavy makeup, collars, chains, zippers, studs. Amongst the most notable heroines of the music scene such as Ari Up, Laura Logic, Palmolive, Poly Styrene and Siouxie Sioux, the partakers were young and unenthusiastic concert and dance floor aficionados; bored, antagonistic individuals, irreverent figures and Dickensian wrongdoers. Between hedonistic drifts and fleeting rushes, the protagonists appear strong and vulnerable, repressed and shameless.

Hardback with screen printed cloth cover. Published November 2013.