THE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO DOCUMENTED THE BIRTH OF PUNK AND HIP-HOP
Growing up, Janette always knew she wanted to make portraits, but with her drawing not being up to scratch, she picked up a camera instead.
From 1977 onwards, Janette immersed herself in the electric atmosphere of London’s punk scene, shooting the most influential bands on the road and backstage.
Then, in 1983, she traveled to the Big Apple, where she was blown away by the energy of New York’s hip hop scene. So she picked up her camera and began recording what she saw.
What struck her most were the similarities between the two subcultures.
“Hip-hop” and “punk” are two phrases you’d think would rarely occupy the same sentence. Why would they? Punk evolved in the UK during the 70s and was a predominantly white movement that favored thrashing sounds, safety pins, and anything with a metal stud through it, while hip-hop was pioneered by group of African American and Puerto Rican kids from the South Bronx.
But the two have always had a close relationship. Born out of disillusionment, they shared the same DIY aesthetic; for punk rockers it was safety pins, for hip-hoppers it was fake rolexes from Canal Street. It is this similarity which Janette emphasizes in her latest exhibition, “Punk Rock Hip Hop Mash-Up”, on show last january at Punctum Gallery at the Chelsea College of Arts in London.