Punk Rock Sewing Circle and the Emerald Tablet are pleased to showcase work from an assortment of creative powerhouses for the gallery reception and spoken word events taking place on May 1st and May 2nd. In the next two weeks leading up to the events, we will feature the bios of all contributing photographers, artists and performers. Below is the first round of bios for the following esteemed individuals: Ruby Ray, Bobby Castro, Elaine Vestal, Matt Heckert, Kamera Zie, Jim Jocoy, George Sera. Stay tuned for more bios as the days progress!
RUBY RAY has worked at the crossroads of underground music and photography for most of her career. One of the original SF punk photographers, she was first published in punk culture rag Search & Destroy, and later helped co-found RE/Search magazine. Since 2008, Ruby has had solo shows of her punk photography in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and Phoenix. She’s curated the punk photo exhibits for all the SF punk Reunions. In 2013 she had a 17ft by 71ft mural of her punk photographs hanging in the center of downtown SF. Her first photo book, From the Edge of the World, California Punk1977-81 came out in 2013 and is now sold out. Her photos of the Dead Kennedys are featured in a new book published last year in the US, UK, Finland, Brazil and Germany called Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. She just received the Kathy Acker Award in photography for achievement in the Avant Garde and soon her bio will appear in the Outlaw Bible of American Art.
BOBBY CASTRO is a San Francisco native who has spent over 40 years photographing the political, musical and street scenes of the city. He was staff photographer at KUSF and The Golden Gate Theatre, and is currently working on his photo archives for future projects. Castro has shown photographs in every reunion show. And now he is also involved with digital photo art.
ELAINE VESTAL—I started going to the Mabuhay and to other punk shows in 1978. I knew that it was a special time and so I brought my camera along and started taking pictures of the bands. I loved the music, but I also loved the fans. So after a while I began focusing on the audience. Here are some of my favorite pictures of some of my favorite persons.
MATT HECKERT—Thirty seven years ago, Matt Heckert moved to San Francisco to study photography, and his apartment was on Fresno Street across from the gallery. He went on with a variety of experiences in the art world, such as forming the band Pink Section, and making mad machines with Survival Research Laboratory and others, but never a public showing of his photographs. This is his first photo exhibit and it is coming back full circle to the street he started out on in San Francisco.
KAMERA ZIE returned to San Francisco in 1972 from Mexico City, where she had lived for a couple of years (on the same street where William Burroughs had lived in the 50s), painting and teaching English. She began working at City Lights Publishing House where she photographed the writers, artists, and performers who congregated there and elsewhere in the city. At City Lights she met V. Vale, who started the seminal fanzine Search & Destroy, just blocks away from the howling vortex of the burgeoning punk rock movement, the Mabuhay Gardens. Along with Ruby Ray and James Stark, among others, she began documenting the punk scene; many of the images appeared in Search & Destroy. Her work has been widely published, in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally- Rolling Stone, New Musical Express, and obscure English publications. She lives in Los Angeles and is still shooting.
JIM JOCOY is a self-taught photographer. He has lived in the SF Bay Area since 1968. We’re Desperate SF/LA, 78-80 The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy was published by PowerHouse Press in 2002. Jim’s punk photographs were featured at Bay Area Now 2005 and this is his second show with the Punk Reunion.
GEORGE SERA – The spectacle of punk prompted me to pick up a camera around 1980. Classic moments kept showing themselves, on stage or in the audience. These were not fine-grained experiences—far from the world of the everyday eye and the grey scale. High contrast, blocked highlights, total darkness. It seemed appropriate to mess with the negative or the print, to replicate the blare and the blur of those moments. My ears are still ringing, after all these years.