Ray Stevenson, Sex Pistols, 1970s, 26755-RYS, © Ray Stevenson. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock and the Michael Hoppen Gallery
Ray Stevenson, Sex Pistols, 1970s, 26755-RYS, © Ray Stevenson. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock and the Michael Hoppen Gallery

Rough round the edges - punk London in print

The Michael Hoppen gallery's forthcoming Punk photo show will display vintage 70s prints, wrinkles and all

The Michael Hoppen gallery, at 3 Jubilee Place lies just off Kings Road in London, just a short walk away from where Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique once stood. In the late seventies, this neighbourhood was the centre of punk rock, and now, 40 years later, Michael Hoppen will look back at that time, with a show of vintage photographs from the period.

 

Steve Havoc, Siouxsie Sioux, ‘Debbie’, 1970s REX Featured LTD stamp in blue ink and various annotations on verso Silver gelatin print 30.5 x 23.8 cm © Ray Stevenson. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock the Michael Hoppen Gallery
Steve Havoc, Siouxsie Sioux, ‘Debbie’, 1970s REX Featured LTD stamp in blue ink and various annotations on verso Silver gelatin print 30.5 x 23.8 cm © Ray Stevenson. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock the Michael Hoppen Gallery

The show, opening 20 July and entitled Punk, is staged in conjunction with the picture agency, Rex Shutterstock, and includes photos of well-known figures from the time, including John Lydon (or Johnny Rotten as he was then known), Jordan, Siouxsie Sioux and Soo Catwoman, as well as complete unknowns, caught busking in Covent Garden or snearing on the street corner.

 

Johnny Rotten, Jordan and Vivienne Westwood, 1970s REX Featured LTD in blue ink and original print copy neg on file in black print on verso Vintage silver gelatin print 17.6 x 25.2 cm © Ray Stevenson. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock and the Michael Hoppen Gallery
Johnny Rotten, Jordan and Vivienne Westwood, 1970s REX Featured LTD in blue ink and original print copy neg on file in black print on verso Vintage silver gelatin print 17.6 x 25.2 cm © Ray Stevenson. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock and the Michael Hoppen Gallery

The prints come directly from press archives are “are suitably distressed, with an object quality and intensity that encapsulates the movement,” says the gallery. That might sound slightly disingenuous, but the crumpling around the edges of the shots does add to a kind of 'keep it real' authenticity.

 

Teenager, Punk Rock, 1970s REX Features LTD stamp in blue ink and No.64816 stamp in red ink Silver gelatin print 17 x 25.4 cm © Paul Revere. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock and the Michael Hoppen Gallery
Teenager, Punk Rock, 1970s REX Features LTD stamp in blue ink and No.64816 stamp in red ink Silver gelatin print 17 x 25.4 cm © Paul Revere. Courtesy of Rex Shutterstock and the Michael Hoppen Gallery

For more great archival punk visuals, take a look at our forthcoming book, Oh So Pretty Punk in Print 1976-80. It’s an unrivalled collection of visually striking ephemera collected by Toby Mott from Britain’s punk subculture, featuring 500 artefacts - 'zines,' gig posters, flyers, and badges - from well-known and obscure musical acts, designers, venues, and related political groups.