When photographer Brian Aris first met Debbie Harry in 1977 he didn’t know that much about her and scribbled down the phrase “punk princess” in his diary after the shoot. He could never have predicted that he had just met one of music’s next big icons whose career with Blondie would explode over the next few years– nor did he realise that as her star rose he too would continue to photograph her and her band for decades to come.
A new show opening in London tomorrow brings together many of Brian’s photographs of the striking singer who helped redefine the idea of the female superstar. In among the collection are never before seen shots of her in her New York apartment and on the set of the video for Islands of Lost Souls. Figures like Debbie Harry become a kind of redux of their real selves as they are burdened with other people’s projected hopes and expectations, but Brian’s enduring friendship with her creates a set of images which help re-fix the person behind the personality.
Debbie Harry: Queen of Punk. Photographs by Brian Aris is at Proud Chelsea until February 17.