From Mods and Punks to Ska and Hip-Hop, 33 Amazing Photos Showing Musical Subcultures of the 1970s and 1980s

Londoner Janette Beckman began her career at the dawn of punk rock working for The Face and Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to Boy George as well as 3 Police album covers.

Moving to New York in 1982, she was drawn to the underground Hip Hop scene. Her photographs of pioneers such as Run DMC, Slick Rick, Salt’n’Pepa, Grandmaster Flash, Big Daddy Kane are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Museum and the Museum of the City of New York.

Beckman describes herself as a documentary photographer. While she produces a lot of work on location (such as the cover of The Police album Zenyatta Mondatta, taken in the middle of a forest in the Netherlands), she is also a studio portrait photographer.

Her work has appeared on records for the major labels, and in magazines including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Italian Vogue, The Times, Newsweek, Jalouse, Mojo and others.

In a 2015 interview with American Photo magazine, she recalled: “It is amazing, 30 years later, people going ‘oh you photographed legends.’ I guess I did, but they weren’t legends when I was taking pictures of them.”

Punks at Sid Vicious memorial march, 1979
Ska girls, 1980
Mod girl, 1976
John Cooper Clarke
Tenpole Tudor
Sex Pistols
Mods on scooter, 1976
Skinheads with flag at Loch Lomond festival, 1980
Mods, The Islington Twins, 1979
Boy, Kings Road, London, 1979
Joe Strummer
Dexys Midnight Runners
Shane MacGowan
Punks, 1978
Teds, 1979
Rock’n’Roll dancers, 1980
Teddy boy, 1980
Mod boy, 1981
Phil Polecat and friends, 1980
Fan plays air guitar in mud at Loch Lomond Festival, 1981
Slim at Specials concert, 1980
Debbie Harry, 1981
Julien Temple, 1982
Skinhead and mod fans at Loch Lomond Festival, 1981
Ska fans at Loch Lomond Festival, 1981
Record shoppers, 1981
Ladbroke Grove sound system, 1979
Punks, 1980
New Romantics, 1980
Rude boys, 1981
Fans at The Jam’s farewell concert, 1982
Andy’s Cut and Blow Dry, London, 1980
The Beat, 1980

(Photos by Janette Beckman)

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