“IF YOU CAN PLAY THREE CHORDS YOU CAN FORM A BAND…"
"To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It's freedom." - Patti Smith.
Bursting onto the music scene in the mid-1970s, punk rejected the trappings of mainstream rock, instead creating a sound filled with fast-paced playing, stripped-back melodies, and hard-edged, political lyrics. Although short-lived, its anti-establishment movement influenced a generation, and the punk ethos still lives on today in contemporary music, fashion and art.
Punk rock's raw energy, rebellion, and DIY spirit were caught by a distinguished collection of photographers including Ray Stevenson, who had unprecedented access to the Sex Pistols, Pennie Smith who had the same with The Clash, and music press photographers - Bob Gruen, Kevin Cummins, Sheila Rock, Virginia Turbett, and Jill Furmanovsky to name just a few. From the snarling faces of punk icons to the explosive moments of crowd interaction, punk music photography serves as a visual testament to the genre, preserving its subversive spirit for generations to come.
Below is a selection of images of artists who were at the forefront of the scene captured by the leading punk photographers of the time. It includes limited edition music prints of The Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Slits, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Buzzcocks and Iggy Pop. To see our full punk rock print collection click here.
The Clash, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Topper Headon & Paul Simonon, photographed by Sheila Rock in Camden in 1976.
Iggy Pop performing onstage with The Stooges during their legendary performance at Scala (Kings Cross Cinema), London in July 1972
Johnny Ramone with his super-fast ‘buzzsaw’ guitar at the Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1980
Johnny Rotten at Daddy's Dance Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark in July 1977, the first show of what allegedly was a secret Scandinavian tour.
Sheila Rock photographed this iconic image of Siouxsie Sioux for the Face Magazine in February 1982.
Billy Idol poses for the camera on a bed with a cat. He was part of the Bromley Contingent, a group of followers & fans of the Sex Pistols.
Buzzcocks captured in a public library whilst on a press session in Manchester in August 1977.
Morgan Webster from punk band Menace performing at The Roxy, London in 1977
Jimmy Pursey, lead singer of punk band Sham 69, leaping in the air during a gig at the Rainbow Theatre, London in 1977.
Jill Furmanovsky photograph of The Slits performing at the Camden venue Music Machine now known as KoKo in 1977
The Clash back stage before their most famous gig at the Rainbow Theatre in May 1977.
Bristol punk band The Cortinas messing about in London in 1977 after the release of their debit album 'Fascist Dictator'
Joe Strummer photographed in St. Anne’s Churchyard off Wardour Street, Soho in September 1989.
Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex at her home in 1978 photographed by Jill Furmanovsky
Montage punk print created by photographs taken by music photographer Jill Furmanovsky
Guitarist Johnny Ramone and vocalist Joey Ramone playing at Manchester’s Apollo Theatre in December 1977.
Signed limited edition fine art cassette print by Horace Panter of The Clash's 'Rock The Casbah'
The Clash Pop Art limited edition fine art print by Horace Panter
Post lunch pose for Record Mirror feature on Sid & Nancy’s relationship.
Colour contact sheet of the Beastie Boys hanging out at Mike D's house during a photo shoot for The Face Magazine in 1994.
Contact sheet from Iggy Pop performing live onstage at the Rainbow Theatre in July 1979
Joe Strummer of The Clash photographed by Michael Grecco in Boston, Massachusetts in 1981
Contact sheet of photographs of the Beastie Boys taken by Jake Chessum in April 1994.
Beastie Boys captured during a photo shoot for The Face Magazine taken in Los Angeles in Mike D's backyard in April 1994.
Billy Idol with Ziggy Stardust flash makeup. New Wave just wouldn’t have been New Wave without Billy to pave the way through the 1980’s.
Stunning photograph of Billy Idol taken by Michael Grecco in Boston, USA in 1982.
Pete Shelley sitting in front of a mirror with the other Buzzcocks in the reflection in Boston, USA in November 1980
Limited edition giant vintage pin badge for the Buzzcocks by artist Tony Dennis AKA Tape Deck Art
Punk group Buzzcocks captured under a Manchester street sign in August 1977
The Buzzcocks photographed by Michael Grecco in Boston, Massachusetts in 1980
Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Topper Headon & Paul Simonon of the Clash backstage at the Concert for Kampuchea, Hammersmith Apollo, 1979
Paul Simonon of The Clash at their rehearsal rooms in 1980, just inside the gates of the British Rail Yard in Chalk Farm Road, Camden.
'White riot, I wanna riot, white riot, a riot of my own!' There was a riot at this gig when the audience smashed up a load of seats.
Joe Strummer (lying on floor) & Mick Jones performing live onstage on their 'Sort It Out' Tour at the Paradiso, Amsterdam.
The Clash giving it all onstage at The Music Machine (Camden Palace), London in 1978
Limited edition of Morgan Howell's original painting of the cover of The Clash '(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais vinyl single
Joe Strummer performing onstage during one of The Clash's legendary gigs at The Lyceum, London in October 1981
Limited edition print of Morgan Howell’s original painting of the pink cover of The Clash’s ‘(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais’ vinyl single
The Clash outside the Roundhouse, Camden , London 1976 taking a break from their busy rehearsal schedule.
Joe Strummer on Blackheath Common prior to the start of the 1983 London Marathon
"I photographed them quite a lot around 1976/77 and then a few times later on in 1982, when the cool punk band had become a cool rock band."
Mick Jones arms aloft, along with everything else, at the Brixton Fair Deal in July 1982
Bristol punk band The Cortinas hanging out in London in 1977 after the release of their debut single ' Fascist Dictator'
Iggy Pop enjoying a drink at the Horseshoe Bar in New York City's Alphabet City in June 1993
Iggy Pop posing for a Sounds cover shoot on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles in June 1988
Iconic Mick Rock photograph of Iggy Pop performing live on stage in London in 1972
Cover artwork photograph taken by Mick Rock for Raw Power, Iggy Pop's iconic third studio album that was released in February 1973
Iggy Pop performing onstage at the Music Machine, Camden in July 1978
Beautiful image of Joe Strummer from The Clash captured in Sanremo, Italy in 1981.
Beautiful image of Joe Strummer, The Clash taken by Steve Double at CBS Records, London in 1989.
Joe Strummer Pop Art limited edition fine art print by Horace Panter
Mark Perry, founder of punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue, captured on the toilet in 1977 by Jill Furmanovsky
This print by artist Keith Haynes recreates the album spines of thirty-six iconic Punk & New Wave records.
The Ramones energetically performing onstage at The Roundhouse, London in June 1977.
The Ramones outside a motel in Stockholm, Sweden in September 1978
I was brave enough to snatch this image of him and Nancy in the dressing room after a Ramones gig that took place on New Years Eve
Limited edition giant vintage pin badge for the Sex Pistols designed by artist Tony Dennis AKA Tape Deck Art.
Taken during a shoot for a Record Mirror commission to illustrate a piece on Sid and Nancy’s relationship
Siouxsie Sioux photographed by fellow band member Steve Severin in May 1982 when Siouxsie & The Banshees toured in Sundsvall, Sweden
Soo Catwoman alongside punk fans at a Generation X gig at the Polytechnic of Central London in 1976
The Clash photographed backstage in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in May 1981.