My Punk Rock Life takes you right into the pit at early punk shows in Los Angeles. Well, maybe not in the pit, which is not a great environment for a camera, but damn close. The book is full of images from the dawn of L.A. punk, shot up close and dangerous. Marla Watson started taking pictures of bands when she was working on a fanzine called Skank Magazine. Watson owned a camera, so she became the photographer. Her passion for documenting the scene lasted much longer than the zine itself. This book feels like trading war stories with a fellow photographer, because I was shooting shows around Michigan at about the same time with a similar goal of documenting the scene.
My Punk Rock Life has over 300 rarely seen black-and-white images with commentary from Watson and band members giving crucial context. Watson includes well-known bands like Black Flag, Bad Religion, 7 Seconds, Circle Jerks, and Minor Threat, along with lesser known bands like The English Dogs. I’m happy to see bands like The Pandoras represented. The only band from that era that I wish was here is Minutemen. Oh well, there are enough action-packed images here to keep old punks in their memory holes all day and to give inspiration to all the young punks who are keeping the flame burning.
The beautiful new hardcover print of ‘My Punk Rock Life: The photography of Marla Watson’ is in store at Earth Island Books now. Stockists and partners please get in touch for your copies while they last.