Blondie, Debbie Harry, ‘New York Studio, No.II’

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© Brian Aris
New York, U.S.A. 1981

Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity

‘We crossed paths. New York had an active street life - it was a small community back then. You often ran into people. You knew them already or got introduced. I bumped into Andy on Broadway and 13th street and said hello and we chatted about everything. I suppose this is how we met and our friendship grew from there. I got invited to the factory and knew others that worked for Andy.’ Debbie Harry.

'Shortly after meeting Bob and Paula I was asked to photograph ‘a punk princess from New York’ and that began another life long friendship – this time with the beautiful Debbie Harry from Blondie. I loved Debbie’s work and her originality, which seems to be a feature of all the people I started shooting then. But Debbie is also blessed with one of the most beautiful faces I have had the pleasure to photograph and that really was a bonus.' Brian Aris for the Independent

'I started shooting Debbie in 1977 when she first came to London. The music press office would call and ask if I wanted to do pictures of people they were promoting and one day they were sending this new girl from New York - a 'punk princess' is how they described her. This was a real turning point in my career. I'd just come away from journalism and started shooting in studio. I wanted to be a photo journalist and I didn’t see myself doing studio work, but the close ups of these photographs were really well received and it convinced me that shooting famous people could be fun. When Debbie walked in I was knocked out by how she looked.' Brian Aris

Brian Aris started shooting in the music industry in the late 1970s after an encounter with Paula Yates. She came to Aris’s studio because she wanted a career in modelling, only for Aris to tell her she ‘wasn’t tall enough’ Yates left the studio declaring: ‘You are wrong and I will be back!.’ Of course she did, this time with her boyfriend at the time, Bob Geldof. The Boomtown Rats frontman and the photographer struck up a friendship, and Aris would go on to photograph Yates for magazines all over the world. ‘She never allowed me to forget that first put-down,’ Aris says. Roisin O'Connor for the Independent

Brian Aris began his photographic career as a photojournalist, working for a London agency. A series of frontline assignments took him around the world covering various humanitarian crises from Northern Ireland and Lebanon to Palestine, Africa and Vietnam. He then decided on a complete change of direction and opened a studio in London where he started photographing fashion and glamour models for newspapers and magazines. Next he turned away from the model world to concentrate on the music industry that was exploding in Britain and gradually broadened his studio work to include pop and rock stars. 

He covered every aspect of the music scene from punk rock, glam’ rock and straight rock ‘n’ roll with the Rolling Stones right through to the emergence of the boy bands and then the girl power that arrived with The Spice Girls. For many years now Brian has worked closely with Twiggy and his pictures of the supermodel are among photographs he has on show at The National Portrait Gallery in London. His portrait of Mick Jagger has been shown at the prestigious Recontres D’Arles exhibition in France and at the Royal Circle of Art in Barcelona. His archive represents one of the largest individual collections in the U.K.

National Portrait Gallery
The Times
Harpers Bazaar
Wall Street International Magazine
Volta Cafe
King’s Road Rock
It’s Nice That

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