Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Eileen Polk interview this Sunday
The following is an edited article from a previous Eugene Weekly:
Eileen Polk's punk photography on display.
BY VANESSA SALVIA
Eileen Polk, a New York native and Eugene resident who documented the late '70s punk scene in New York City through her camera lens, will open a gallery show at Feinstein's Museum of Unfine Art on Friday, Nov 3.
Polk was a New York teenager in the late seventies and befriended many of the performers and individuals who created and nurtured the punk scene, including The Ramones, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Frank Zappa and many others.
Polk always had her camera with her when she went to a party or show, and consequently was able to get candid shots. "I was like a fly on the wall – I had my camera on so much that no one even thought about it," she says. "It was like, 'Oh, there she is again.'"
Though she did make attempts to photograph professionally for magazines, Polk's intention morphed to just creating a "personal archive." Getting paid to shoot wasn't as important as simply documenting the many interesting lives and events she encountered. The people she photographed accepted her and her camera's presence because she was a part of the scene, not a journalist trying to infiltrate the community.
Polk was among the last few people to see Sid Vicious on the night of his death, and knows firsthand how the media can sensationalize and distort celebrity lives. She enjoys presenting a truthful view of the people she photographs. "I like to show people the way they are, even if they're not being politically correct," she says.
Her philosophy of photography has always been "to take pictures of things that would otherwise be lost to history. My photos are kind of like a visual anthropology."
Among the photos she plans to have on display are shots of Dee Dee and Joey Ramone, two personal friends of Polk's who have since passed away. She also has shots of Cherry Poppin' Daddies‚ frontman Steve Perry, local politician Pete Sorenson, even Jesse Jackson. Prints of photos in her extensive collection will be available for purchase. Polk's photographs are hanging in the gallery at 537 Willamette through November 30.