Sounds of Two Eyes Opening

Southern California Life: Skate • Beach • Punk • 1969-1982

 

Purchase Deluxe Edition Book

Some large-format (24″x36″), mounted copies of the above image (minus text) are available at the No Auditions online store.

SPOT landed in Hermosa Beach, CA in the mid-1970s.

A serious musician fed up with impotent Hollywood hoopla, he helped build Media Art Recording Studio and stumbled into photojournalism via Easy Reader, the local news weekly. Hermosa proved to be a crossroads abounding with oddball roller skaters who were mostly overshadowed by Venice disco rollers and the Dogtown-inspired leaps into professional skateboarding (never mind that the first skateboard competition ever was in Hermosa in 1963). Then, in the late 70s, there was a significant cultural shift fueled largely by music. This time the South Bay was in the vanguard. Spot became the in-house producer and engineer at SST Records—the label founded in 1978 by Greg Ginn as a vehicle for Black Flag, the band that defined LA hardcore. Between 1979 and 1985, he recorded, mixed, produced or co-produced most of SST’s pivotal acts, working on all of Black Flag’s greatest releases, and on classic albums by the Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Saint Vitus, Descendents, Big Boys, Hüsker Dü, The Dicks, Subhumans and Misfits. Throughout this period, Spot remained a master photographer who documented various Los Angeles subcultures in intelligently composed black-and-white photographs. As this volume reveals, there was no distinction between the musical and the visual—he heard what he saw; saw what he heard—hence, the title of this collection. Spanning the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Sounds of Two Eyes Opening offers an amazing portrait of Southern California life, set against the dark clubs and rehearsal spaces of the burgeoning punk scene.


Deluxe Version of the book is available straight from Sinecure Books.
(a much better choice than the insane Amazon prices!)

Images from the book

 

In the Press, Etc...

 

The spread in LIFE.com (Nov 24, 2014) was the first press the book received. It meant a lot to me since the images in this publication were what inspired me to take up photography in the first place.

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“Cause and effect. Question and answer. Spot’s eye makes the world rhyme.”

Ian MacKaye

“The book is incredible, truly! Hermosa has changed A LOT recently, but when I was growing up (and my memories) the place had a similar vibe to your photos… very cool!”

Rory Uphold

“A perfect time capsule straddling two weirdly Californian worlds.”

Ed Templeton

“(In an interview on life in Black Flag) …Henry was asked if he had any regrets. …his only regret was not getting there earlier. I felt that way myself but it was just a guess at what things must’ve been like in Hermosa Beach in the 1970s. Spot’s book confirms that regret.”

Joe Carducci

Prior to the release of SoTEO, a photo was contributed to “We Got Power”

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…a few photos in “A Wailing of a Town”

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A photo from SoTEO then appeared in “Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles”

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…a spread in Grazia Magazine (French edition?)…

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Then a cover, spread and essay in Huck Magazine #50…

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One of the book photos was converted into a wall mural and unveiled a few months ago at Pacshore Partners (631 Wilshire) in Santa Monica, CA. sm_mural

…2 covers, a spread and interview in Pitchfork Review #6…

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…and there were also spreads, articles, interviews, etc, in hardcopy volumes of:

  • Maximum Rock & Roll
  • LA Record