In addition to his new album out this year, Blondie guitarist Chris Stein has been busy behind the camera and in the darkroom preparing “Hell in the City of Angels,” his new photography exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery. This marks his first photography show in over 30 years, but unlike fellow musician-turned-artists — like, say, Ringo Starr — Stein had studied fine art photography at the School of Visual Arts in the 1960s, the Los Angeles Times reports, which had eventually led him to meeting Debbie Harry, with whom he formed Blondie.
“I was always taking pictures. There was a glamour in the decay that we were all in,” Stein told the LA Times. “I think that’s why so many hipsters are into these [photographs]. Now it’s all about money and gloss — you look back at the rot and decay with a sort of envy.”
The two dozen photos from his personal collection offer a rare, insider’s view of the 70s and 80s music scenes, including portraits of the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Nina Hagen, Devo, William Burroughs, and Kim Fowley. (Not surprisingly, given the subjects they depict, most of the photos have unknown dates.) Teenage Joan Jett and Cherie Currie make an appearance from their Runaways days, as well as a young Anthony Kiedis at around 12 or 13 years old, shot alongside his father.
There are plenty of photos of Debbie Harry to go around — from casual to staged — including one behind-the-scenes shot from Andy Warhol’s Factory as she was being photographed by the Pop artist (above). Stein told the Times his photos will be published in a book coming from Rizzoli in 2014
— Meredith Caraher
(Image: Chris Stein, “Andy shooting Debbie at the Factory,” date unknown. Courtesy Chris Stein, the Morrison Hotel Gallery.)