New York City played host to many bourgeoning music scenes in the 1970s, from Glam to Disco to Hip Hop, but the Punk scene definitely rocked NYC the hardest- and made the biggest impact on the city.
Punks like Ramones, Billy Idol, Blondie, New York Dolls and Richard Hell were all trendsetters in both music and fashion, and unlike the politically charged UK scene the NYC punk scene was equal parts artsy fartsy and party party party.
These rare candid shots shared by photographer Julia Gorton on her Instagram feed give us an intimate look at a young NYC punk scene, showing what it was like for her to hang at CBGB's in the 70s as a young transplant from Delaware:
Gorton saved up her money and bought the best Polaroid camera she could afford; after relocating to the city, shed used no other camera for that first year, she capturing the likes of Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, and David Byrne. “When you had a large unusual camera that made instant prints, it was easy to approach people,” she said, though she admits she was quite shy at first. “It was very dark at CBGBs. Sometimes the photos didn’t come out the first time. Since the film was expensive, I only shot a few frames of each subject.”
In recent years, Gorton began looking through her archive of prints, and realized she could use more modern technologies to find the hidden figures in the darker images. “One print I kept was an underexposed shot of Tom Verlaine, almost completely black, with just the slightest shadow of him visible. With Photoshop, I was able to scan and finally pull him out of the shadows of decades past,” she said, musing that the image is reminiscent of an Edward Steichen portrait.