L.A.'s ‘80s punk scene part of photo exhibit at Morono Kiang Gallery
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A new photo exhibition in downtown L.A. should hold special interest for Southland music fans, as it includes images from the region’s wild and woolly punk rock scene of the early 1980s.
Among works being featured in “Faraway So Close: Photographs of Los Angeles in the ‘80s” at the Morono Kiang Gallery are shots by Edward Colver, who captured virtually all of the great bands in the first wave of punk rock that swept through town at the time. One of the shots he’ll have on display shows dozens of motorcycle police officers stationed outside a Hollywood Boulevard movie theater for the 1981 premiere of Penelope Spheeris’ documentary ‘The Decline of Western Civilization.’
Another photographer whose images will be shown is Ann Summa, who also spent considerable time among the punk community, although she told Pop & Hiss that the four shots she plans to have on display, taken with her Widelux camera, focus on other aspects of L.A. life in the ‘80s.
Here’s what she has to say about the image above, titled ‘The Tourists, Hollywood, 1984,’ which she shot on Hollywood Boulevard near Selma Avenue:
‘As a Nikon devotee, working with the Widelux, a Japanese spy camera, brought a certain liberation. It wasn’t in your face punk rock photography, but the opposite: fly-on-the- wall, catching a 180-degree image. The nature of the camera changed the nature of my work. It was quiet, it was a range finder; it had a set focus and only four f-stops and three shutter speeds. The lens moved. The subjects never knew what hit them.’
The punk rock kid in that shot, James Creamer, now works as an electrician in Orange County, Summa said.
Beyond the indigenous L.A. music scene material from Colver and Summa, photographer Willie Robert Middlebrook will be displaying his large prints of reggae giant Bob Marley on a 1981 visit to Watts.
Photos by Mark Vallens and Shervin Shahbazi will be more political in nature, Summa said, and additional photos from Sara Jane Boyers, May Sun and Richard Wyatt will round out the show, which runs through March 31.
The photographers will be on hand for a panel discussion on from 3 to 5 p.m. The gallery is in the Bradbury Building at 218 W. 3rd St. Information: (213) 628-8208 or www.moronokiang.com.
-- Randy Lewis