Roberta Bayley


Roberta Bayley was born in Pasadena, California and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended San Francisco State University for three years before dropping out in 1971 and heading to London.


Roberta worked as a door person at CBGB’s, New York’s legendary Lower East Side punk club, and subsequently befriended leading musicians on the punk scene. She is known as one of the principal photographers to visually chronicle the punk rock music movement from the mid 70s through the early 80s. Roberta was also the chief photographer for Punk magazine.


Among the punk music artists she has photographed are Iggy Pop, Blondie, Richard Hell, Elvis Costello, The Sex Pistols, Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, The Ramones, Nick Lowe, The Damned, The Clash, The Dead Boys, Ian Dury, X-Ray Spex, Rockpile and The New York Dolls.


Monographs of Roberta's photographs are featured in multiple books, while she herself co-wrote the book Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography. She appeared on screen as a street girl in the gritty independent feature New York Beat Movie starring Jean Michel Basquiat.


Roberta’s photographs have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Austin, Paris, Portland, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Berlín, Buenos Aires and Pittsburgh.


She lives and works in New York City.

Roberta Bayley in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2018





Roberta Bayley - Solo Show

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2018



Group Show

Curated by Roberta Bayley

New York City - 2019



Group Show

Curated by Roberta Bayley

New York City - 2013

Centro Cultural Borges CCB

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2018

Buenos Aires, September - 2018

Debbie Harry with Roberta Bayley at Hurrah - Nightclub. New York, 1980

Photo: Bobby Grossman

France, 2019

Roberta Bayley helped shape the aesthetics of punk in the late 1970s. Her snapshot of the Ramones became an inconic image that encapsulated an entire cultural movement. 

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This stunning visual memoir portrays a unique period in music and fashion. Shot by Roberta Bayley, one of the New York punk scene s most prominent photographers, the photographs chronicle the band from its earliest days, performing before hard-to-please crowds at Max s Kansas City and CBGB s, to global superstardom at the end of the 1970s. At every stage, Bayley was present to record Blondie s swift, dramatic rise to the top. Featuring 235 candid photographs, many previously unpublished, Blondie Unseen 1976-1980 offers a fly-on-the-wall visual perspective of life with the band during these tumultuous years. Bayley s talent for being in the right place at the right time ensures that her photographs capture the truth of the moment in a dramatic and revealing manner. The images, enhanced and complemented by Bayley s own first-hand descriptions, provide an inimitable evocation of one of pop culture s most creative and exciting periods."

The Book contains 24 black and white photographs by New York photographer Roberta Bayley, with each print initialed by Bayley and mounted on brown boards. Accompanying each photograph is a facsimile of Bayley’s handwriting describing the origin of each image.


Piece #1 and Unknown number (never opened)

Property of the artist

This is the original artist draft for the Punk Book which includes the 24 photographs | RC Prints | Each Photograph is Signed by Roberta Bayley


Property of the artist

PUNK Magazine Complete Run 1-17 with D.O.A. Filmbook


Holmstrom, John [Editor]; McNeil, Legs [Editor]

New York: Punk Publications, 1975-1979.


Complete in 15 issues total, numbered 1-17 (issues 9 and 13 were never printed) with "Punk Supplement" (inside High Times February 1977) and D.O.A. Official Filmbook. Variously folio folded tabloid and quarto, pictorial wrappers. Very Good overall.


The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Television, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Blondie, The Dictators, Destroy All Monsters, Iggy Pop, James Chance, The Clash and all sorts of early punk celebrities were profiled and lampooned in the pages of Holmstrom's now-classic Punk. 

Roberta Bayley | Vintage Archive


The Ramones - First Album cover

© Roberta Bayley Photography

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
Size: 30 x 40cm.

Gelatin Silver Print
UNIQUE PIECE / Printed in 1976 by Roberta Bayley

Roberta Bayley chatting with Sid Vicious

© Bob Gruen, 1978


© Roberta Bayley

140 Unique Pieces
Printed in the 70´s by Roberta Bayley

Ramones and

the Punk years

by Roberta Bayley

in Buenos Aires Argentina

This show attracted more than 15,000 visitors in three weeks at Centro Cultural Borges in September 2018.

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Selected Work | Limited Edition 

Roberta Bayley 

"She Just Takes Pictures"

by Beth Lasch

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Selected Media

How The Ramones changed American rock’n’roll forever
Debbie Does Dress
How a young photographer’s impulse purchase wended its way into punk history.
Roberta Bayley, the queen of punk, on New York’s raw years
She Just Takes Pictures
Summer and smoke: rock'n'roll in the warmer months – in pictures
Musicians from Debbie Harry to Joey Ramone have been captured and collated enjoying the summer in a new exhibition at 72 Gallery in New York showing until 22 August. In Summer and Smoke, the photographs on show are designed to ‘snap you out of your summer doldrums’
Photography - These Photographers Documented New York’s Legendary Punk Scene
From Blondie to the Ramones, i-D spoke to Roberta Bayley and GODLIS to find out just what made CBGB’s so special.
Stories: Notable New Yorkers, Streetscapes, Urban Tastes
Punk Photographer Roberta Bayley. Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Lilly Tuttle
Roberta Bayley, la fotógrafa que mejor retrató al punk neoyorquino
Lecture Video Clips
She Just Takes Pictures