Belfast Punk (Warzone Centre 1997 – 2003)

A book by photographer, Ricky Adam documents 90s Belfast’s punk scene

Words by Ricky Adam

The photographs in this book were taken sporadically over the years between 1997 - 2003, a small window of time considering the Warzone Collective opened its first venue in 1986. They were some of the first photographs I ever shot.

In hindsight, I wish I’d taken more, but at the time, I wasn’t purposely documenting things. I just happened to have a camera and snapped photos here & there whenever I thought of it. This was in the pre-digital era, so there aren’t many photos of the Warzone Centre from around this time. I stopped in about 2003 when the Warzone closed its doors.

People may say, “Who cares about punk in the 90’s? Wasn’t it all over by the early 80s?” But the truth is, punk (or whatever you want to call it) never went away. It may have lost its gimmicky, commercial appeal, but it didn’t die - it just seeped into the underground.

Punks live by their own rules & these photos reveal more than the drinking & dancing depicted here. Being a punk, especially in a city like Belfast was a political statement in itself. Not only were young punks kicking against ‘the man’, they were also kicking against sectarian divisions. Amid a historically troubled city with dark forces still swirling around, the ‘Warzone Centre’ remained a beacon of light and became the counter-cultural alternative hub for the greater Belfast area and beyond.

The Facts Don’t Matter

Explore the UK streets with photographer, Ricky Adam

Words by Ricky Adam

Photography can be very easily misconstrued. When you look at a still image you never know what’s really happened in a scene. It’s a split second, fragmented moment captured on camera that more than often tells a completely different story to that which is going on. This becomes especially evident with street photography where people are generally moving quickly and every movement is so fleeting.

We look at an image and automatically make assumptions based on what we see. Most of the time it’ll be wrong, but that’s alright.

I just want people to look at the photographs and enjoy them for what they are regardless of the facts. Hence the title.

As a publisher and Community Interest Company, TRIP is dedicated to showcasing unconventional stories that may otherwise be overlooked. We aim to give a platform to the unseen and a microphone to the ignored. Expression is a right and should not be confined to those that can afford to work for free; which is why we strive to support a diverse range of creatives in their work, commissioning exciting projects and creatives to visualize them.
 

Founded as a magazine in 2013 by photographer, Dean Davies, TRIP was born from a desire to provide opportunity and exposure for image-makers across multiple platforms and medias. With a focus on people and place, in 5 years TRIP gained a loyal readership, and became known for its honest image output and representation of the underrepresented, featuring over 800 image-makers from across the world through a website, 5 magazines and 3 free zines.
 

As TRIP C.I.C. we are not interested in profiting from the activities of the organization, and re-invest all income back in to consecutive publishing projects.
 

Directors:
Dean Davies
Alfie Allen
 

For all enquiries: trip@trippublishing.co.uk.