Sep 23, 2014 12:26 PM

NYC photo show looks back at Debbie Harry's career

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Forty-one years after Blondie hit the music scene, frontwoman Debbie Harry is looking back but not through her music.

Instead, band co-founder Chris Stein is offering an insider's view with a show of photographs that he began shooting before Blondie was formed.

At a private opening Monday, the 69-year-old Harry, her lips painted into a perfect red bow of a mouth, blond hair and downtown-cool black clothes, posed for cameras with Stein, then reflected on a life spent in music.

"I don't know if I really thought about it too much in terms of a long future," she said of the early days. "I think it was sort of a day-to-day kind of momentum, just to sort of keep going. I don't think either of us had a long plan ... I think it was really just if we can get through next week, we'll be doing all right."

Stein, 64, said he began the decades-long series of photos in 1973 when he and Harry formed The Stilettos. The exhibit coincides with the release of Stein's photo book, "Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk" (Rizzoli).

He hopes younger people will take away "a little sense of history" from the exhibit at New York's iconic Chelsea Hotel, which over the years has been a temporary home to music legends from Madonna to Sid Vicious. The exhibit runs through Sept. 29.

"They (need to) appreciate all the obstacles and hard work that we've done," he said.

Jeffrey Deitch, who curated the exhibit, says its roots took hold about seven years ago.

"Debbie said, 'I've always wanted to show my collection of rock and roll T-shirts' ... and then the 40th anniversary of the band (came) and Chris had his photography book," Deitch said.

The T-shirts didn't get their own show, but they are an element of the exhibit, which also features photos by rock photographer Bob Gruen, Annie Leibovitz and Robert Mapplethorpe.


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