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SPOT: SOA; Philadelphia, crop

Work / Photography

Totally awesome 1970s and 80s SoCal photos by hardcore producer SPOT

When those from the music world travel into the art world, their journeys can result in somewhat mixed creative results. Some musicians, like Ronnie Wood, move into rather grotesque paintings, while Dean Blunt regularly fills Hackney’s Space gallery with baffling images (like these strange Evisu jeans emblem-based works) and The Specials bassist Horace Panter likes painting robots. As such, we find some of the outcomes of this tricky transition are perhaps less accomplished than others – a mixtape you listen to with one finger firmly on the “skip” button, if you will.

However, a new series of photographs by hardcore producer SPOT has made us rethink our cynicism. It turns out that when he wasn’t on production duties for the likes of Misfits, Black Flag, Hüsker Dü and Minutemen, SPOT was capturing some rather brilliant images of babes, bands and beaches in Southern California. His photographs, which are now being drawn together in a book entitled Sounds of Two Eyes Opening, were all taken between the late 1960s and early 1980s, and create a fascinating narrative of the circles he moved in, which seemed to frequently involve chicks on rollerskates. Though most of the images are in monochrome, the colours in those that aren’t are wonderful – all vibrant blue skies and honey tans that remind us that SPOT is very much a Californian as much as a man whiling away the hours in sticky, dark basement gigs.

“I began taking photographs in 1969 and visually crossed cultural divides that folks now want to philosophise over, but such wanton theorising is always ineffective. In the end, you were either there or you weren’t,” he says. “I never chose what images to document, life just presented them to me and I quickly figured out when and why to click the shutter.”

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Spot: Sandy; Hermosa

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Spot: Phoenix; en route

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Spot: Sandy & Kelly; Hermosa

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Spot: “R” Rheilly; Redondo

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SPOT: SOA; Philadelphia

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Spot: Sandy; Hermosa

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Spot: Laurie; Hermosa