Shot In The Dark: The Collected Photography of David Arnoff

Gloominaries of Hollywood’s punk scene caught on film.

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David Arnoff lurked unobtrusively on the LA punk scene of the 70s, capturing the moment in scuzzy venues, motels and tour buses.

A Patti Smith gig in ’76 set him on the dark path of shooting such luminaries (gloominaries?) as Lou Reed, Nick Cave, The Cramps, Ramones and New York Dolls. Nestled among the black-and-white collection are The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Damned. Glamour and squalor are both beautifully portrayed, be it Runaway Lita Ford in full swing, eyes obscured by flying hair; a bloated Jeffrey Lee Pierce, the worse for acid, staring glumly from a grimy van or Dead Boy Stiv Bators with a pellet gun.

This is a front row view of punk’s glory days, but it also gives us a candid insight into the dark’n’wild side, thanks to Arnoff’s gift of revealing the spirit of an artist. In the 40th anniversary year of punk, this is a dark gem to be treasured.

Classic Rock 221: Stuff

Claudia Elliott

Claudia Elliott is a music writer and sub-editor. She has freelanced for BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s, Uncut, History of Rock, Classic Rock and The Blues magazine. She is a 1960s music specialist.