PUNKS by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon


“Photographers Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon skilfully documented London Punk scene between 1976 and 1977.”


The word punk is associated with a style and attitude formed by disenchantment, nihilism, visual violence and theatricality. At the time these photographs were taken there were approximately 3 million young people unemployed in Europe. Some of the Punks captured by Richon and Knorr were still at school, others out of work and those who worked during the day were punk at night. For this early student collaboration, the photographers, both new to London, directly engaged with the young punks, encouraging performance and playful interaction. Of the resulting black and white photographs, many remained unpublished for over 30 years, and were brought together for the first time in Punks. Punks was exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery in 1978 and included in Another London at Tate Britain in 2012. Punks by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon is one of the must-haves for dedicated punks.

“Working together enabled us to control the flash lighting, often off camera, as well as being able to establish an easier relation with our subjects. Our starting point was to get away from the candid photography strategy of the invisible but truthful hit-and-run photographer, as well as avoiding the rough, grainy picture associated with that mode of working. We chose a direct confrontation with our subject. This is why our pictures are posed, affirming our presence instead of eluding it. We attempted to achieve such a formal approach in order to emphasise Punk symbolism and to make it more readable.”

If you’re interested in the punk music scene, we also recommend: The Bollocks: A Photo Essay of the Sex Pistols by Dennis Morris and The Art of Punk by Alex Ogg and Russell Bestley

Punk had burst onto the scene with its aggressive raw energy, confrontational lyrics and rhythm guitars spewing out arrangements that were just unorthodox. It was that moment of revolutionary art, overturning what had gone before.

Our vast selection of Punk books reflects the importance of that subculture from the early 1970’s in New York, through London, The US West Coast, Riot Grrrl through to the current day.  The curated selection includes the photography of Dennis Morris, Kevin Cummins, Sheila Rock and Janette Beckman, biographies of The Undertones, a history of The Roxy club and a good selection of women in Punk including Poly Styrene, Patti Smith, Jordan and Kim Gordon.

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