TIME Music

A Nostalgic Look Back at New York’s 1970s Punk Rock Scene

It was the best of times

His photographs capture the culture of rock and punk music; the beguiling moments with the Ramones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Blondie, Dead Boys, Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch and many more as they made New York’s CBGB club their home in the late 1970s.

David Godlis, a photographer simply known as GODLIS, was deeply influenced by Brassai’s Secret Paris of the 1930s – which portrayed its opium dens, its brothels – when he decided to photograph music history in 1976. “I looked at [Brassai’s book] every morning over coffee at Burger King in Times Square before going to work at a photo studio nearby,” Godlis writes in the introduction of his latest photobook, History is Made At Night. “But sitting at the CBGB bar that night, I suddenly had the epiphany that may be I could be shooting at CBGB like Brassai shot Paris.”

History is Made At Night brings together Godlis’ iconic black-and-white photographs from the time he spent in and around the famed CBGB club on the Bowery, offering a rare look into the early punk rock scene that transpired in New York’s East Village.

History is Made at Night book by GODLIS.

Crowdfunded via a Kickstarter campaign and published by Matte Editions, this book is a gem for music and photography lovers alike. History is Made At Night acts a portal to the raw and innocent beauty of the mid to late 1970s in New York City. It’s an ode to the culture and creativity of the late CBGB club at a time when we’re increasingly feeling nostalgic for that slice of time (as seen in HBO’s music drama, Vinyl, Netflix’s The Get Down, and in Garth Risk Hallberg’s debut novel City on Fire.

David Godlis is a photographer and artist based in New York City. Follow him on Instagram. Some of his pictures are exhibited at the agnès b. gallery until Oct. 16.

Michelle Molloy is a senior international photo editor at TIME.

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