Born in New York, Ruby Ray migrated to San Francisco in the mid-'70s. She entered the underground scene while working at Tower Records in North Beach. When she acquired her first camera, she quickly turned it into a weapon. Ray shot using a Nikon FM and Tri-X 400 film, the fastest film of its time. While documenting new bands and people forSearch & Destroy magazine, she wielded her lens like many young DIY artists were brandishing guitars – bold, carefree and absolutely necessary.
As a fixture on the first wave punk scene, Ray photographed with a stark intimacy. There are candid shots of The Sex Pistols' fateful trip to San Francisco, Darby Crash slashed and bloodied, Exene Cervenka sitting amongst discarded tires like tombstones, and The Avengers' Penelope Houston writhing on stage.
From the introduction by Jon Savage: "For a brief period, Los Angeles and San Francisco hosted vibrant subcultures that threw up sounds, noises, ideas and images that remain some of the 20th century's most vivid youth statements. You can hear how in the few records that were made at the time… These pictures are a record of a lost moment that is finally receiving the attention that it was always due."
From the Edge of the World comes with a 16-song bonus CD that compiles some of bands photographed in the book: GERMS, THE ZEROS, THE DILS, THE AVENGERS, CRIME, THE SCREAMERS, CHROME, THE BAGS, MUTANTS, FACTRIX, THE SLEEPERS, NEGATIVE TREND, NOH MERCY, PINK SECTION, THE OFFS, and Z'EV. Ray accurately prophesied that her scene's art would endure and strove to depict it precisely as it was – breathtaking.
In addition to hosting the official Los Angeles release party, La Luz de Jesus Gallery will host a pop-up exhibiton of Ruby's iconic photographs. Signed and limited prints will be for sale while editions are available.