A Punk Retrospection

This past Friday, February 19, famed photographer Ruby Ray opened a show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood. Ray documented the shape of punk to come from the underground with her unique vision.

Ray began taking pictures of the punk lifestyle in its early stages of the 1970's. One picture that made a huge statement in her career was a portrait of the well-known beat author, William S. Burroughs, standing in a garden in San Francisco holding a gun.

Those there to view her work seemed to come more from that time during the punk movement than fans. Nostalgically reminiscing over particular pictures of bands or portraits of musicians, the crowd of personal friends acted as historians. Standing up close and pointing out certain people in the pictures, like De De Troit, singer of the punk band UXA, holding a newspaper in front of a city hall.

Many of Ruby Ray's photographs have appeared on book covers, album artwork, magazines, and posters. She became a contributing journalist and photographer to Search & Destroy, a magazine embodying punk culture in San Francisco during the late 1970's.

Into the 1980's she migrated to the east coast, relocating in the East Village of New York City. While living there, she became influenced by mixed-media art, multiply layered pictures and lights shows. She channeled this artistic energy into a group called Saqqara Dogs, a musical collaboration.

Volleying between the West and East coast and throughout the years Ray was able to exemplify what the daily life of genuine punks looked like. From the reckless, lime-lit concerts to the adventurous days out around town, her photographs made it easier for those believers, affected by the bug, to understand what it was like day to day.

Ruby Ray's expansive installation bears all from Mick Jones of the Clash, in a mid-air jump, to The Dickies spending their day hanging out in a porn shop. Ray's recognizable photographs will be up on display in the store until February 28th. The exhibit is free and well worth the interesting history lesson on the roots of punk culture. "Oi!" to the world.