A New Photography Book Points Its Curious Lens on the Punk and Beach Scene of 1970’s Los Angeles

Sound of Two Eyes Opening has us yearning for a skateboard and some Black Flag.

Edited by Johan Kugelberg and Ryan Richardson, Sounds of Two Eyes Opening is a narrative of Southern California chiaroscuro: all the shots of punks and bands and clubs are dark swatches of blacks and grays with brief illuminations of white skin, bringing about a general claustrophobic cul-de-sac feeling. These images sit in contrast to the wide open endlessness of Spot’s beach photographs: beauty, youth and body worship, white teeth, big hair, the eternal trilogy of sun/sand/sea, the promise of the unbroken horizon.

Spanning the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Sounds of Two Eyes Opening offers an amazing portrait of Southern California coastal life: surfing, bikinis, roller skating and skate boarding’s fledgling days are set in contrast to iconic shots of all the key denizens of hardcore punk rock as it is being invented; candid shots of Black Flag, The Germs, Minutemen abut those of everyday punks, fans, cops, clubs and now-shuttered rehearsal spaces.

In a recent piece on the book published by laist.com, Spot, a Los Angeles native, shares that he moved to Hermosa Beach when he was 23. “When I was homeless at one point I drove there one day with my last cup of gasoline and just said, ‘Well, I’ll see what happens.’”

“And a lot happened during his years in Hermosa Beach. Spot kept busy by playing music (everything from drums to string instruments and woodwinds), working as a music engineer and roller-skating by the beach.

“He started taking photography seriously in 1969. Spot grew up with magazines like LIFE and was inspired by the black and white journalistic photos he saw, and when he got a Pentax, he was inseparable with his camera. He started writing music articles for a local newspaper, the Easy Reader, and began taking photos for the outlet as well.”

Many of his original images make up Sounds of Two Eyes Opening, presented as a hardbound, 272-page book, printed on matte art paper, with four-color black-and-white printing, a lay flat binding. Copies purchased from record stores come with a limited edition silk-screened 7″ vinyl record with art by Ed Templeton.

Photos courtesy of Spot.