She belongs to the first generation of ageing rock and pop stars… no scrap that, I can’t even mention age in relation to this timeless goddess, icon and eternal inspiration. Debbie Harry will forever remain frozen in our collective consciousness as the icy-cool poster girl for Punk. Her obvious strength, self-styled outfits and intoxicating stage presence easily makes Harry the ultimate 70’s icon. As the front woman of infamous New-Wave Punk band Blondie, her distinct and sultry vocals headed a unique mix of disco, pop, rap and reggae. It is close to 40 years since the iconic band came together in 1974, and 35 years since photographer Brian Aris’ first shoot with Harry; Proud Chelsea is understandably excited to reveal the 70’s blonde bombshell as she has never been seen before.
UK born Brian Aris was first asked to photograph Blondie’s spellbinding lead singer in 1977 just before the band exploded into popularity, and continues to shoot promotional material and portraits for Harry today. Here’s what Brian Aris remembers from that initial shoot:
‘Nobody could have been more surprised than I was when Debbie finally walked into my studio for that initial shoot. No band, no heavy American management presence – just a quietly-spoken, polite and extremely beautiful girl with a natural but devastatingly sexy look. She floored everybody there.’
This photographic collection at Proud Chelsea combines several of Aris’ and Harry’s portrait sittings from Blondie’s heyday, colourful shots taken in Debbie Harry’s NYC apartment and a selection of nostalgic Polaroids. Amongst classic and iconic images, Proud Galleries will be showing previously unseen shots uncovered from Aris’ personal archive: including stills from the video shoot of Island of Lost Souls on the Scilly Isles; and sittings in in his Old Street studio in London and NYC.
Confirming our secret desire for Debbie Harry to truly be as amazing as we’d like her to be, it’s rather heart warming to hear this from Aris: ‘She’s unique: certainly one of the most creative people that I’ve worked with, which probably comes from the Andy Warhol influence and her New York background … She’s endlessly drawing inspiration from those around her and twisting their looks to work for her.’
Debbie Harry Queen of Punk | Portraits by Brian Aris
Till 17th February 2013
161 King’s Road
London SW3 5XP
All images ©Brian Aris
Many thanks to Liz Thornhill at Proud
Words Anna Bang
Tagsanna bang, Blondie, Brian Aris, Debbie Harry, Proud Chelsea,