In a white room, with polished wooden floors and scattered chairs, Deborah Harry stares glassily and glamorously into the lens of a cheap Polaroid camera held by Andy Warhol.
Just visible to the right are the torso, arm and foot of Warhol’s photographic assistant, Christopher Makos. The photograph of the shoot was taken in 1980 at the Factory, Warhol’s New York studio, by Chris Stein, co-founder with Harry of the band Blondie.
Both band and artist were at the height of their fame: Blondie had enjoyed huge critical and commercial success with their 1978 album Parallel Lines, which sold 20 million copies worldwide; their single “Call Me” was the main theme song for the film American Gigolo (1980), Warhol was celebrated for his pioneering pop art of the 1960s, his avant-garde films, his magazine and his silkscreen images of society icons.
“The most ironic thing about that picture,” says Stein, “is that the camera cost $20, it was just a throwaway Polaroid which didn’t even have an adjustable lens.”
The image is one of a series of 24 photographs taken by Stein, many previously unseen, which document the pioneers of the new wave and punk music scene, such as the Ramones, Devo and Iggy Pop, and is included in Hell in the City of Angels, a solo exhibition of Stein’s work at the Morrison Gallery, Sunset Marquis Hotel, West Hollywood, until August 25.
This article has been amended to correct the spelling of Christopher Makos