Punk Pioneers: Rizzoli Press Release

The photographs of Jenny Lens — many unseen, many more well-known but seldom credited — are poignant reminiscences of a defining moment in musical history. From 1976-1980, she photographed the seminal punk acts as they passed through her native Los Angeles, many for the the first time: the Ramones, the Clash, Germs, Blondie, Sex Pistols, the Go-Go’s, X and solo Iggy Pop and many more.

Punk Pioneers chronicles the punk scene from legendary west coast clubs like the Whisky, the Starwood and Winterland [more from the Masque in LA than San Francisco’s Winterland], to rare backstage moments, parties, and tour footage.

She shares untold stories with candid and never-before-seen images: Joey Ramone poolside before a show in San Francisco in 1976, Debbie Harry in a spray-printed wedding gown years before Madonna, Iggy Pop spray painting graffiti on butcher paper on his wall of his rented Malibu mansion, Sting alternating between bass chords and eating watermelon onstage.

She documented the powerful, creative, influential and respected women of LA Punk, as well as the more well-known men. Her rare color fashion photos, on and off stage, reveals an untold chapter in early punk history: the vibrant and unique LA punk fashion sense, which can still be seen in mainstream and alternative fashions today.

She photographed LA’s diverse population: Chicanos/Latinos, gay men and lesbians, Jews and others who were very marginalized in rock and popular culture of the time, and often omitted in previous punk dissertations, photography books, and documentaries centered around that time frame.

Known for her spontaneity, and ability to foresee a great moment on stage, the photographs of Jenny Lens are indicative of the music of the timesfast and furious (and female).


“The infamous Jenny Lens, supreme master of the punk rock photo.” ~ San Francisco Bay Guardian.

“There was a time when Punk Rock was dangerous, man — in a cerebral way. And Jenny Lens was there to record it all.” ~ Garage Magazine.

An unrivaled collection of photographs from the least document era in punk rock history — the years before hardcore.

Punk Pioneers chronicles the LA Music scene as it morphed from stadium and dying glam rock to punk, while also encompassing roots, rockabilly, rasta, and established rock icons — all vital to punk.

The photographs of Jenny lens, many unseen and many more well-known but seldom credited — are poignant reminiscences of a rude and rowdy moment in punk rock history. From 1976 to 1980, she took early shots in LA of future legends: the Germs, the Go-Go’s, Blondie, the Ramones, the Damned, the Clash, Iggy Pop and more.

Jenny Lens, a self-described “artist, lover of life, photo-journalist, and story teller,” reveals untold stories with rare and candid images that could only have been caught by someone as engaged in the scene as she was.

She archived early pioneers, followers, writers, fans and performers at shows, backstage, parties and city streets.

This book stands alone as a record of punk legend, a document of the sweeping cultural revolution through an LA rather than a New York lens.

She captured the energy and brilliance, passion and frustration, and most importantly, the fight for music and art that embodied the punk movement.

Featuring a forward by revered photographer Glen Friedman, this is one of the most important and most beautiful collections of photography of the least documented era in punk.

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