The punk centrefold: Debbie Harry photographed by Chris Stein, 1976
Back in 1976 Chris Stein photographed his Blondie bandmate, Debbie Harry, as part of a centrefold feature on Punk Magazine.
Started by high school friends John Holmstrom Ged Dunn and Legs McNeil in 1975, Punk Magazine ran for 17 issues until up until 1979 and was the kind of Gonzo publication young fans of alternative music would carry under their arm and into the nearest underground music venue.
Quickly building up their reputation, the magazine managed to attract some of the biggest names in the scene and, just one year after their launch, new wave pioneers Blondie became their centrefold feature.
Founding members of Blondie, singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein—who were dating at the time—headed across New York City and into a Bowery loft for a very special photoshoot. With Stein behind the lens and Harry in front of it while wearing that ‘Vultures’ T-shirt, a series of photographs that were kept hidden away for a number of years.
As part of the band’s 40th anniversary, Stein decided to publish the images his 2014 book Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk. “I was taking pictures of everything around me, among them Debbie,” Stein writes in the book. “I was always aware of her astonishing looks and the effect she had on people.”
“That was Chris’s underhand propaganda method,” told Mojo Magazine in 2013 while pointing at former boyfriend Stein. “He would take loads of pictures of me and put them out all over the place. What happened was this. We worked very hard for seven or eight years.”
Remembering the change in direction but in full realisation of the identity they had driven, Harry explained: “We knew we were a pop band, and we knew I had this little-girl-woman-sex object thing. And then, in 1981, we stopped cold and took a year out. In that interim, in that absentia, there was this thing that happened, which was shocking to me. It grew uncontrollably without any of us doing anything, and suddenly it was Blondie the icon, and I thought: Is this me they’re talking about?”
“Chris’ sense of humour and easy, relaxed personality made me feel relaxed, too, and eventually, I started to like being shot by him. Because of our personal relationship, I think, Chris’s pictures of me are the most real and unguarded and ultimately revealing.”
Below, enjoy some images taken by Stein for Punk Magazine: