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LOS ANGELES — It might not have originated in California, but punk rock manifested here with an extreme style antithetical to the hippie legacy. “We’re Desperate: The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy, SF/LA 78-80,” celebrates the scene’s “visual noise,” as Marc Jacobs writes in the book’s introduction, with 263 rocking color photos.
Jacobs joins Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and X’s Exene Cervenka in praising Jocoy’s snapshots, most taken with a 35 mm camera he found at a thrift store. “I don’t remember the make, and something was obviously wrong with it — just look at the colors,” Jocoy says. “The camera finally died after too much pogoing in the crowd with it. It was acting up, so I just threw it aside.”
Of course, Jocoy is quick to note that he’s no professional sharp shooter. But his DIY approach perfectly captures the rawness of the era. Members of seminal bands such as the Cramps, X and Dead Kennedys, as well as Iggy Pop, Lydia Lunch and Sid Vicious all took their turn before his lens and via the results, one can almost smell the regurgitated stench of those underground clubs.
Through friends, Jocoy met Moore, who took the images to PowerHouse Books. The three will co-host a book signing at New York’s International Center of Photography on Friday. Meanwhile, at KBond in Los Angeles, the exhibition of Jocoy’s original photographs graces the walls until Sunday.