Joy Division Juvenes

On our current reading table is Juvenes, a recent reissue by UK book publisher Octopus Books. This stunning hardcover book captures Joy Division and its seminal frontman, Ian Curtis, through stark images of their hometown of Manchester, UK, during their brief heyday. Despite only having released two studio albums, Joy Division’s legacy lives on to this day, with a growing fanbase around the globe.

Joy Division Juvenes

Joy Division fans will enjoy the imagery with brief stories sprinkled throughout its 256 pages (note the original pressing was 192 pages). In addition are interviews with remaining band members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter Hook. Another notable essay is that provided by Natalie Curtis, daughter of Ian and Deborah.

Joy Division

As band photographer Kevin Cummins played a vital part of the band’s image, his essay is included at the beginning of Juvenes. Those bleak, black and white photos associated with the band are the result of dreary UK winter weather. As I thumb through the pages, I can almost sense the mood and atmosphere of early 80’s Manchester.

Joy Division Juvenes

Cummins was with the band from their very start at the Electric Circus May 1977 gig as support for the Buzzcocks. While Ian, Peter, Bernard and Stephen were learning to pose as a band, he was learning how to shoot bands. They thus grew together as an entity.

As Cummins explains in Juvenes, he couldn’t afford to waste a shot as he had to pay for his own film, often with hopes that music mag NME would use more than one of his captures so that he could come out ahead. A typical session would rarely run more than a single roll, and even then he’d try to save a few frames to shoot something for another client.

Joy Division Juvenes

This book is a great peek into doomed youth, industrial post-punk Britain and the band that inspired a future generation of bands, starting with New Order, Joy Division’s successor. The backgrounds, shadows, darkness, and simplicity of the photos are well served by a listen to Unknown Pleasures (1979) or Closer (1980).

Juvenes is available via Octopus Books (CAD $44/USD $40/UK £30) in hardcover and e-book formats.

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