Debbie Harry, Blondie, &

Blondie, Debbie Harry, 'Plastic Letters, Outtake'

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© Chris Stein
Los Angeles, U.S.A. 1977
Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity

This photography work is an outtake shot by Chris Stein for Plastic Letters and captures Debbie Harry in the back seat of a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro coupe, a car inherited from her mother. The photos for the second Blondie album, Plastic Letters, were shot by Phillip Dixon. There was a first session shot at and around the Tropicana in Los Angeles. In these images, Debbie is dressed in a pillowcase, which has been wrapped with red duct tape. We spent a day shooting and everyone left liking the Polaroids and concept. When the photos got to Chrysalis Records, there was a big outcry that the images were ‘too punk’ and Dixon was hastily flown to New York for a brief second session, which produced the shot of the band around a prop New York police car. The story I got was that the police car was supplied by the NYPD, and that it was a special, smaller version of the actual thing they hired out for film and video.

'Oh yeah, I remember being a little kid using those little box cameras. I also had a magazine with a very evocative picture of a snowy street, and I looked at it all the time. I felt so drawn into this image even as a child. That was the photo where I first really felt that pull, that desire to capture things.' Chris Stein for Hunger

‘Stein and Harry became friends, lovers and bandmates, but he also became something of a personal photographer, capturing her every move. Stein chronicled the band’s early beginnings on camera, from the nascent New York punk scene to the international celebrities they worked with, including Andy Warhol. Like the rest of the world since, Stein was taken with Harry’s charisma, her spirit and – of course – her style.’ Sam Rogers and Susan Devaney for Vogue

'Renowned as the co-founder and guitarist of the iconic new wave band Blondie, Chris Stein’s photography is as poignant and powerful as the songs he wrote. Documenting New York from the seventies to today, he’s lived through the streets and the streets live on through him: from the city’s early punk scene to the landmarks long lost, Stein has captured cultural moments like none other. Captivated by how photography can bottle up a memory forever, his work aimed to keep things as candid as possible, from his still-bandmate and former-partner Debbie Harry to strangers on the street, the result is raw images, people at their most honest.' Kitty Robson for Hunger

Blondie co-founder, guitarist, producer, photographer and co-host of cult cable show TV Party, Chris Stein began shooting in 1968 and hasn’t put the camera down since. It’s all there on film: Warhol, Debbie Harry, the cast, the city – and its his documentary of the Big Apple throughout the 70s and 80s that remains just as looming a character in his photographic archive.

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