Formed in 1976, as Warsaw, the Joy Division defined the look and sound of the post-punk era despite a shortened four year run. During that period, photographer Kevin Cummins was offered full access to the young group. He says, they “were learning to pose as a band while I was learning to shoot bands.” Cummins archive of Joy Division photographs, coupled with rare ephemera (including Ian Curtis’ own notebooks), forms the definitive monograph Joy Division. From composed shots in T.J. Davidson’s rehearsal room to raw live performance photos, and even portraits on the streets of Manchester, Cummins view of the band is broad and unfettered.
In the forward, Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City, articulates Joy Division’s sound. He writes, “What Joy Division seemed to have, still seems to have, was a kind of gloomy authenticity, a direct line of transmission to the pain and uncertainty and raw emotion of that vantage point at the precipice of post-adolescence.” The words quite accurately describe Cummins photographs as well, for they are documents full of intimacy between both band members and the City of Manchester. As McInerney suggests, the collected ephemera and photographs successfully capture the imagination of people and place. The era is frozen in time, and with it the mood of a pioneering band.
A conversation between Cummins and Joy Division founding member Bernard Sumner rounds out the publication – undoubtedly the most complete celebration of the band on paper.
© Joy Division, Rizzoli New York, 2010.
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A selection of ephemera and photographs by Kevin Cummins after the jump.
© Kevin Cummins, Joy Division, Rizzoli New York, 2010.