Leee Black Childers, the photographer who captured a generation of New York underground culture, in the 1970s, has died in Los Angeles. He first came to recognition, on the rock scene, photographing the glam rock generation, with Bowie and Iggy. He was also one of the first to record the rise of the seminal New York punk scene, starting with the New York Dolls, in the early seventies. His many memorable shots of Andy Warhol from the factory days and ‘drag queens’ from the Hotel Chelsea are also iconic.
During the early 1970s, he focused on his stage-management of Andy Warhol’s 1971 London stage production, Pork at Camden’s Roundhouse, Childers recorded the legacy of a theatrical cross over between rock music and gay culture. In 2012 he released a book titled ‘Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rockstars and Punks’. It featured images of Debbie Harry, Wayne County and Jackie Curtis, as well as images of the Sex Pistols in their early stages. He was also involved in the management of David Bowie and Johnny Thunders, as well as being one of the main photographers documenting early punk as it moved from New York to London. His pictures from the Stonewall era and Warhol’s Factory will be remembered as a milestone in the history of gay culture.
Photographer Chalkie Davies said; “Another sad day in Rock and Roll, Leee Black Childers has passed away. The word legendary is thrown about a lot, but there is no question that Lee truly deserved the title”. His photographs documented the 60’s and 70’s, he was one of the most original of punks, he brought us many fabulous images of Bowie, Iggy, Debbie and Lou, he hung with Andy, managed the Heartbreakers, and he really was one of the sweetest of men”.
“RIP Lee, you will be missed more that you will ever know”.
Words: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2014