It was the summer of 1976 when American photographer Gary Green moved from the humdrum suburbs of Long Island to a two-bedroom apartment in Lower Manhattan, the epicentre of the up and coming anarchistic wave of music known as ‘punk’, to work as a photographer assistant. Coincidentally it was also the year the Ramones released their first album and punk idols Patti Smith, Television and Richard Hell would take the stages of NYC’s most boisterous venues, from Max’s Kansas City to the CBGB’s on Bowery, where the 22-year old spent long nights capturing the gritty, glam-rock landscape that had rebelliously conquered the Manhattan night scene.
When Midnight Comes Around, a newly published collection of Green’s monochrome photographs by Stanley Barker takes us back into the exuberant punk landmarks of that time. Forty-four years later, capturing portraits of very well-known faces: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, Joey Ramone, Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders, Patti Smith, Tom Waits and Debbie Harry, to name a few, documented witnessing the bourgeoning shift in popular culture happening right here in NYC’s seediest clubs, undoubtedly unaware of just how influential their misfit faces would become. The series sees a juxtaposition of some of music’s most legendary figures and anonymous crowds, snapped democratically against the sordid backdrop of a late ‘70s Downtown Manhattan.
Inspired by the documentarist works of Diane Arbus and mentor, Lisette Model, Green’s style stems from the edgy aesthetic of an economically neglected yet artistically thriving society, immortalising the moments and conversations that fuelled the bursting energy that was punk in those years and contributed to musical history being made.
When Midnight Comes Around by Gary Green is out now, published by Stanley/Barker.