Music

Intimate Photographs from the First Years of Punk

Ivar Muñoz-Rojas's new book features photos from the personal archive of 'Slash' magazine founder Philomena Winstanley.

by Juanjo Villalba
21 June 2019, 7:45am

Black Flag. All photos: Philomena Winstanley

This article originally appeared on VICE Spain.

In early 2000, A young punk fan was making photocopies of her punk fanzine, Stab, in a library in Barcelona when a British woman walked over. Noticing what the girl was doing, the woman started telling her about her days as a photographer covering punk bands in LA during the late-70s and early-80s.

The stories went on, and eventually the older photographer invited the young journalist back to her house, where the young fan discovered the woman was Philomena "Philly" Winstanley, who – alongside her partner, Claude "Kickboy Face" Bessy – co-founded Slash magazine, LA's legendary punk-rock fanzine.

There was nothing conventional about Slash – from the interviews that covered outrageously strange topics, to the photographs, which stepped away wherever possible from the traditional front-row concert shots in favour of more personal settings, such as the beach right next to Philly and Claude's house.

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The Bags.

Before the young woman left her home, Philly gifted her a box full of iconic photos from her personal collection, including shots of Nick Cave, the Sex Pistols, Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys. Almost two decades later, that collection has was found by music journalist Ivar Muñoz-Rojas', who used the photos in his new book, Underground Babylon – a visual testimony of LA's first punks. The book also features extensive interviews with Philomena conducted over several years.

After three years running Slash, the couple ended up leaving California to settle first in London – where Philly would document the punk scene – and then in Barcelona, where they lived for over 15 years.

Scroll down to see more photos from Ivar Muñoz-Rojas' 'Underground Babylon'.

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John Lydon
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KK Screamers on the floor with John Denney from The Weirdos, and Trudi.
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The Zeros
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Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.
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Madness on the beach in LA.
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Nick Cave
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Nina Hagen
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Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks.
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Psychic TV.