Monday, 1 December 2014

Art of the Book - Chris Stein's "Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk" (2014)

On the occasion of Blondie’s fortieth anniversary, Chris Stein shares his iconic and mostly unpublished photographs of Debbie Harry and the cool creatures of the ’70s and ’80s New York rock scene.

While a student at the School of Visual Arts, Chris Stein photographed the downtown New York scene of the early ’70s, where he met Deborah Harry and cofounded Blondie. Their blend of punk, dance, and hip-hop spawned a totally new sound, and Stein’s photographs helped establish Harry as an international fashion and music icon.

In photos and stories direct from Stein, brilliant writer of hits like "Rapture" and "Heart of Glass," this book provides a fascinating snapshot of the period before and during Blondie’s huge rise, by someone who was part of and who helped to shape the early punk music scene - at CBGB, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and early Bowery.

Stars such as David Bowie, the Ramones, Joan Jett, and Iggy Pop were part of Stein’s world, as were fascinating downtown characters like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Hell, Stephen Sprouse, Anya Phillips, Divine, and many others.

As captured by one of its greatest artists and instigators, and designed by Shepard Fairey, this book is a must-have celebration of the new-wave and punk scene, whose influence on music and fashion is just as relevant today as it was four decades ago.

An awesome book from an artist in the full sense of the word. Unlike other books in the same genre, Chris Stein gets to the essence of his surroundings and people he comes in contact with. Obviously, Debbie Harry is the main model and why not; it is her persona that gave Blondie its fame with her looks and voice. Being a famous celebrity does open doors that are not accessible to regular people and his pictures make you share his perspective about art and music. 
The title is perfect: the negative. That is exactly what he does in his compositions, for example; the one with Jennifer of the group the Nuns. Half the picture is a rock sculpture of some kind and it adds to the personality of the person. Stein captures the everydayness of his existence, and oh Lord, it is interesting! He writes the same way no need to add his philosophies just glimpses of his thoughts and Debbie's as well. Another one is Eric Emerson and girls from the band Teenage Lust backstage. It looks like a painting - like one of Degas' wonderfully composed ballerina portraits. 
Worth every penny!
by Gavifrancoise  

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