I Wanna Be Me – Celebrating Music’s Greatest Punks, Rebels and Renegrades.

In Association with Rockarchive

21st October 2022 – 21st December 2022

“I Wanna Be Me”

Celebrating music’s greatest punks, rebels and renegades

Smashing onto the cultural scene in the mid-1970s, punk was a period of music history that excited and challenged like no other. Angry, loud, and anarchic, it was the voice of the disillusioned youth that changed not only music, but fashion, culture and society forever.

Rockarchive is proud to present in collaboration with the Lucy Bell Gallery I Wanna Be Me an exhibition that celebrates the unique spirit of punk and it’s enduring legacy.  The exhibition features a unique collection of iconic and rare photographs of key musicians that pioneered the punk revolution and some of those most inspired by it.

The exhibition includes images of The Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Undertones & The Slits, plus punk influenced artists such as The Cramps, The Jam, Debbie Harry and Joy Division. Specially curated by Rockarchive for the exhibition, the photographs capture punk’s irrepressible attitude and spirit.

Highlights from the exhibition include Sheila Rock’s classic photograph of The Clash taken in Camden in 1977, the Sex Pistols performing onstage at the legendary 100 Club in 1976 by Ray Stevenson and Kevin Cummins’ enduring shot of the Buzzcocks playing Liverpool University in 1979.

The exhibition is led by a large collection of prints by renowned music photographer Jill Furmanovsky, many of which are brand new print editions and also includes work by Michael Putland, Ray Stevenson, Howard Barlow, Richard Mann, Jorgen Angel, Gerard McNamara, Mick Gold, Syd Shelton, Kevin Cummins, Richard Heslop, Max Browne and graphic art by The Postman.

The I Wanna Be Me exhibiton is taking place at the Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea between 21st October – 21st December

There will be a large selection of Syd Shelton’s work to coincide with the book signing of his book “Rock Against Racism” (date TBC) , and signed copies of Sheila Rock’s book “Young Punks” available for sale at the gallery.

Young Punks By Sheila Rock


As the 1970s drew to a close and changes in music, fashion and attitudes collided to form Punk, Sheila Rock was right at the heart of the electrifying youth movement. Whether candid or posed, her striking photographs perfectly capture the innocence of the early days, the DIY fashion ethos and the raw energy of Punk.

‘beautifully raw and utterly compelling’ Vogue
‘documents the scene in its thrilling infancy’ Guardian
‘Rock’s standout ability to bring you up close, and illustrate the most intimate and delicate side of her hardest subjects speaks volumes.’ iD
‘Superb… captured the essence of punk and evoked the moments in between the hysteria’ The List
‘Striking’ Time Out
‘Many of Rock’s stunning photographs are resolutely timeless’ Classic Pop

Extent: 288 pages

Syd Shelton

Rock Against Racism (Book signing date TBC)

Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism is a body of photographs that Syd Shelton produced for and about the British Rock Against Racism movement (RAR) of 1976–1981.
For Shelton this work was a socialist act, what he calls a ‘graphic argument,’ on behalf of marginalised lives. His practice of photographic activism began in 1973 when he was driven to document the socio cultural and political
dynamics expressed on the streets of Sydney by urban Australian Aboriginal communities, the working class, and the architectural landscapes of these groups. Shelton’s
first solo show in 1975, ‘Working Class Heroes’ at the Sydney Film-makers Cooperative, established his distinct activist eye.
Shelton joined RAR in early 1977 on his return to England from Australia. He did so because he found his birthplace a more racist country than it had been when he left. This was marked by the increased political presence of the
National Front, notably its gain of some 119,000 votes in the Greater London Council Elections of May 1977.
Shelton, like millions of others, feared for the future of multi cultural Britain. His contribution to RAR was to be on the London committee, to create graphic material with other RAR members such as the RAR publication ‘Temporary
Hoarding,’ posters’ badges and his photography–RAR did not have an official photographer. Shelton’s instinctive need to document RAR—its events, contributors, and supporters—has resulted in the largest collection of images on the movement. Alongside his documentation of RAR, Shelton took photographs of what he calls ‘the contextual images,’ the lives and landscapes that were
defined by others as ‘different,’ and that often fuelled racist acts of violence by simply being. What is presented here are Shelton’s authoritative visual statements as participant-photographer on the social tempo in Britain at this time and the activist potency of
RAR. As collective activism, RAR’s success was dependent on individual contributions to fuel the movement’s activities across the country. This unique national, and eventually international, charge incorporated the visual dynamic of how Black and white RAR contributors and participants styled their bodies as another antagonistic tool against racism. These were acts of style activism—the making of an activist identity through the considered composition of clothes, accessories, hairstyles, makeup and body language. Shelton’s images prompt us to remember that the individuals at RAR carnivals, gigs, and demonstrations were the event — they were RAR.
There are many versions of what RAR was and its legacy. Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism provides an auto/biographical telling of that historical moment. It reflects on how Shelton’s work as a photographer contributed towards social change at a critical moment of political and racial tension in Britain.
Professor Carol Tulloch

Ray Stevenson – Sex Pistols – Carnaby Street London 1976

Jill Furmanovsky – Joy Division – Contact Sheet, YMCA London, 1979

Michael Putland – The Clash – New York 1978

Syd Shelton – Mick Jones and Paul Simonon Wearing Customised Vivien Westwood 1977

Sheila Rock – John Lydon, Shepherds Bush 1980

Sheila Rock – The Clash – Chalk Farm -1977

The Postman Collective – David Bowie 1985

Michael Putland -Blondie, Viv Albertine, Siouxsie, Chrissy Hynde, Poly Styrene and Pauline Black, London August 1980

Jill Furmanovsky – The Cramps – 1981

Jill Furmanovsky – The Buzzcocks – Manchester Library 1977

Sheila Rock – Debbie Harry, Holland Park London, 1977

Michael Putland – Siouxsie Sioux, London 1980

Jill Furmanovsky – Devo – Hyde Park 1980

Allan Ballard – Billy Idol- With Flash – Late 1970s

Jill Furmanovsky – Paul Weller, Rainbow Theatre, London 1979

Syd Shelton – Rock Against Racism, Militant Entertainment Tour, Cambridge 1979

Richard Mann – Sid and Nancy – Joe Allen’s, Exeter Street – London 1978

Syd Shelton – The Clash, RAR, Victoria Park, 1978

Gerard McNamara – Adam and The Ants – Lyceum 1980

Sheila Rock – Siouxsie Sioux – London, 1982

Syd Shelton – X-Ray Spex/ Rock Against Racism Anti Nazi League Carnival, 1978

Phil Grey – Blondie, The Roundhouse, London 1978

Syd Shelton – Malcolm Owen, Ruts Lead singer. Rock Against Racism Militant Entertainment Tour, 1979

Syd Shelton – John Segs, The Ruts, 1979

Syd Shelton – Paul Simonon at The Rainbow, 1979

Syd Shelton – Rock Against Racism Militant Entertainment Tour 1979 (2)

Syd Shelton – Sham 69, Central London Polytechnic September 1978.

Syd Shelton – Die at 42

Syd Shelton – Anti-Racist Skinheads, 1978

Kevin Cummins – Joy Division, Cathedral Yard, Manchester 1979

Kevin Cummins – Pete Shelley, Buzzcocks

Kevin Cummins – Sex Pistols, Christmas Day, 1977 Huddersfield, Last UK Performance

Kevin Cummins – Joy Division, Art & Furniture Chapel Walks, 1979

Steve Double – Jarvis Cocker – Pulp – 1995

Steve Double – Iggy Pop – Sunset Boulevard – 1988

Syd Shelton – Mick Jones, The Rainbow, 1979

Syd Shelton – The Undertones, 1981

Syd Shelton – John Segs Jennings – The Ruts RAR Tour, 1979

Kevin Cummins – So It Goes

Kevin Cummins – Poly Styrene Manchester, 1978

Kevin Cummins – John Lydon, 1989

Kevin Cummins – So It Goes – Limited Edition with Print

Young Punks – Sheila Rock – Signed

Sheila Rock – Young Punks Book – Signed

Syd Shelton – Rock Against Racism – Signed Book