Legacy of Punk in Vancouver - photo exhibition at the Polygon [2021]

On until January 3rd, don't miss it!  [Header image: Dina Goldstein, from Polygon's website: "Dina Goldstein, Punk Hands (detail), 2021."]

Deeply touching, intimate and glorious photographs by Dina Goldstein on display at the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver, which you'll find close to the Lonsdale Quay - a short walk from the Seabus. Admission by donation and they may still have a lovely pop-up store right now for anyone who is stuck for Post-Christmas present.

From the curator Helga Pakaasar: "Over the past year Dina Goldstein has photographed key figures from the legendary punk rock scene of the 1980s and 1990s in Vancouver and Victoria. The portraits in OG Punk from this ongoing series were shot with a neutral studio backdrop, establishing a mood of staged and theatrical artifice. The subjects self-consciously perform for the camera, showing off their punk regalia, spiked hairdos, and tattoos. Some pose with playful bravado, others are more introverted, even melancholic. Seen as they are today, these original punks have matured as distinct personalities while still retaining their subculture personas, as their nicknames imply." [Polygon Gallery]

Photos from the exhibition.

Dina Goldstein began her career 30 years ago as a photojournalist, evolving from a documentary and editorial photographer into an independent artist focusing on large-scale productions. Her work is highly conceptual and complex social commentary [from: Dina Goldstein]


Punk is many things: an art form, music style, but mostly an attitude and appearance. A counter-culture anarchistic movement that started in 1970's, and was not as much 'for' anything but mostly 'against'. The punk ethos is primarily made up of beliefs such as non-conformity, anti-authoritarianismanti-corporatism, a do-it-yourself ethicanti-consumerist, anti-corporate greeddirect action and not "selling out". [Wikipedia]

Punk espouses working-class values - especially in Britain where class is still such a thing. Against formal training - especially in music. And against any authoritative normative and restrictive mass-cultural suppression of individualism.

The term 'punk' refers to a young, inexperienced person; a beginner, a novice. Wikipedia tells us that the earliest known example of a rock journalist using the term "punk" was Greg Shaw who used it to describe music of The Guess Who in the April 1971 issue of Rolling Stone, which he refers to as "good, not too imaginative, punk rock and roll"; referring to untutored guitar-and-vocals-based rock and roll.

Worth checking out: an audio guide for the exhibition on youtube written and read by Vancouver author Michael Turner and an online conversation hosted by the Polygon Gallery with four women from the Vancouver punk and indie music scene. 

Very interesting how the illustration for  the audio guide (above) is reminiscent of my current favourite exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery by Jan Wade, using found objects to communicate. See the blog post about Jan Wade.

Jan Wade, at the Vancouver Art Gallery


OG Punk was on view at The Polygon Gallery in January 2021.  Photos in this post are mine, though of course the exhibited photos are by Dina Goldstein. For more details about the Gallery - check out this post.

For more information about the Punk phenomenon, I'll soon have more details about Punk Music, the Punk Art, and especially the Punk Persona.

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