Chris Stein is not only an innovative guitarist, groundbreaking songwriter, and the co-founder of Blondie, he is also an acclaimed photographer whose eye for the perfect snapshot has given us some of the most indelible photos of the seminal people and places of New York City’s punk and new wave era.
The proof of his acuity as a visual artist can be seen throughout his beautifully rendered coffee-table book, Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk (Rizzoli), which documents both the private and public moments of his remarkable life. It is also an intimate look at one of the most enduring creative partnerships in pop music: the collaboration between Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry and Stein, which has continued to enrich the magic of Blondie throughout the band’s illustrious career. It was Stein was gave the world its first photographic glimpses of the ravishing Harry.
While Stein is one of the most brilliant documentarians of the New York City music scene, his greatest strength as an artist, musical as well as visual, is his drive to move forward. He has long been able to anticipate what was coming next, to embrace the future in his work. In so doing, Stein helped to shape the sound and the look of pop culture for the last four decades.
Musically, Stein helped to reboot the world of dance music with “Heart Of Glass” and introduced the mainstream pop world to hip-hop with the game-changing hit, “Rapture,” helping Blondie to become one of the most influential bands of our time.
The continued success of Blondie is a tribute to Stein’s musician’s ear, photographer’s eye, and overarching vision.