Photographer Janette Beckman looks back the mods, punks, and ska kids who stuck it to the man before callouts were cool.
During the economic downturn of ‘70s London, Janette Beckman was a photography teacher living in what she calls a “semi squat” as she witnessed the city’s youth culture reach a new turning point. With what seemed like a bleak future ahead, mods, skins, and punks emerged on the streets of London. Working-class kids were speaking out in numbers, launching a youthful rebellion against the Queen and the government. Beckman saw it all, carefully documenting the birth of London’s punk rock scene for magazines like The Face and Melody Maker, while shooting album covers for bands like The Police. Beckman captured the mohawks, the studded leather motorcycle jackets, and the youthful angst that went with them until she decamped for New York in 1983 to photograph the music genre emerging from the Bronx called hip-hop. Beckman released a new printing of her book Raw Punk Streets UK 1979–1982 this summer. The photographer, who is now represented by Fahey/Klein Gallery, looks back at some of her most seminal images with Document, describing each moment she caught on film, from the 1979 memorial of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious after his tragic overdose to people