In the pre-digital age so much went unrecorded by the camera. The process of carrying a camera, photographing and developing took a determined person. Sara Leigh Lewis was one and as a member of the 1978-1980 Auckland punk and early post-punk scenes she captured the inner day-to-day of that important but brief hothouse with an absolutley unique eye.

She explains:

"In 1979 I moved into a Ponsonby cottage two doors down from Tall Tony. I set up a darkroom in the corrugated iron bathroom, where slugs crawled under the door. Tony introduced me to the "scene" (and asked me to be backing singer for the Secret Agents despite distinct lack of vocal ability). My camera became a passport, enabling me to document the crazy mad life we led and despite technical flaws the photos still have a raw energy that reflects the time."

Moving to London in the early 1980s, Sara has lived in the UK since, where she has continued to photograph, with images of many expatriate New Zealand musicians, much of the early 4AD scene and South London urban dwellers amongst her work.

Sara's work can be found here, and these are a selection of her quite amazing AK79 era images (others will appear around the site from time to time).


Adolf Soeteman, later vocalist with Rebel Truce


Annie Oakley


Bootboys in Parnell Rd


Craig and Tina at The Windsor Castle. Craig was the vocalist with The Aliens


Diane at The Windsor Castle, Parnell


Graham Hood of Wellington band, The Normals (right) in Parnell, 1979. Hood later shifted to Australia and co-founded The Johnnys in 1982


Sara Leigh Lewis with John Atrocity 


Proud Scum's John Atrocity


An Auckland punk New Year's Eve - Norfolk Street, Ponsonby 31 December 1979


Saturday afternoon at The Windsor Castle, Parnell


The Windsor Castle, Parnell


Titch (RIP)


Sian and 'Tall' Tony Jakich, lead singer of The Secret Agents

Part two is here.