The 1970s saw a seismic shift in fashion and music. The early years of the decade were dominated by rock, glam rock and disco but then, in 1976, the raw punk scene exploded into the youth culture of the day.
During the mid-1970s, John Andow was taking evening classes at London College of Printing and working in a darkroom by day. His passion for both the new music and capturing images of this exciting period of musical transition meant that his nights were spent in dingy, smoke-filled pubs and clubs. These iconic venues included The Hope & Anchor, Dingwalls, The Round House and The Marquee. John saw the birth of many bands including 999, The Stranglers and The Buzzcocks, as well as Elvis Costello’s first London gig.
John said: “Punk was a real fuel injection into the music industry and an exciting time to be an aspiring young photographer. Given the opportunity of exclusive photo passes into this new era of music, I couldn’t resist.”
Progressing to become a full-time assistant photographer, John started to become involved in private photo sessions with the bands, as well as the live gigs. It was not aII punk, however as he was commissioned to photograph a number of seminal rock moments, including AIexis Korner’s 50th birthday gig, when Korner played alongside friends Eric Clapton, Chris Farlow, Paul Jones and Zoot Money.
John’s Seventies-era black-and-white photographs form an important archive of this moment in musical history. In that pre-digital age, the images were captured on film and wet-printed overnight in a darkroom, improvised on the landing in his London flat. Like most young people of any era, John burnt the candle at both ends: “I was a night-time person in those days, which was just as well given the lifestyle I was leading at the time. I was assisting photographers all day, then spending some nights taking photos at gigs, staying up processing and printing the negatives, to get them into the music magazines the following day.