Trouble in the Camera Club by Don Pyle, ECW Press

Trouble in the Camera Club: A Photographic Narrative of Toronto’s Punk History 1976 - 1980

Pyle, Don

  • Trouble in the Camera Club features over 300 photographs by Don Pyle and another 200 images of related ephemera from the earliest days of Toronto’s punk music scene, featuring early gigs by Toronto bands like The Viletones, Teenage Head, The Curse, The Diodes, and The Ugly, and visiting punks the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Clash, Vibrators, The Stranglers, and other artists influential to the punk movement including Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, and Cheap Trick.

    Starting in 1976, at age 14, Don Pyle witnessed and photographed some of the earliest gigs of Toronto punk acts and many of the artists whose sensibilities aligned with this new, festering subculture. According to Steven Leckie of The Viletones, Pyle’s photographs “made everyone look heroic, as good as Annie Leibovitz and Linda McCartney.”

    In 1977, Pyle bought a 35mm camera and joined his high school’s camera club to learn how to develop and print, and to get free chemicals for processing. His trial–and–error education in photography resulted in a collection of images that, 30–something years later, are as much historic document as they are pictures of an under–represented and significant period in Toronto’s musical cultural development. Scratched, water–marked, and dusty negatives were restored to reveal his hidden history of the revolution. Numerous artists that have since passed away are captured in this book in their creative prime, frozen in youthful self–absorbed beauty. These are photos taken by a kid in awe of what he was seeing and who was pressed against the stage at every gig, not by a “professional” who observed from the sidelines.

    Trouble in the Camera Club is a one–of–a–kind photo–documentary of this golden moment — the birth of punk.

  • Don Pyle is a musician, producer, and artist. He’s released 12 albums, created music for films and TV series, and produced recordings for other artists. He was a member of the Juno award-winning band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet for 11 years. He has been taking photographs since he acquired a red plastic Sabre “620” camera in 1965. This is his first book, and his portfolio can be seen at Pyle’s current music project, Black Heel Marks, will release their debut album in the summer of 2011. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

  • Published: May 2011

    ISBN: 9781550229660

    Dimensions: 8 x 10 in.

    Pages: 304


Trouble in the Camera Club is the story of a chubby, gay nerd coming of age during the first wave of Toronto Punk. It’s a pictorial journey from the fall of poodle-haired, bell-bottomed bar bands to the rise of a kind of music that would punch those bands in their heads and then have unprotected sex with their girlfriends.” — VICE Magazine

“The sense of time flying in Don Pyle's Trouble in the Camera Club is dizzying. It's more like time sky diving without a parachute. The crash may be only seconds away, but the sensation in the moment is amazing.” — Toronto Star

“Pyle documented the scene from 1976–1980 on his Canon AT-1 camera and caught everyone from Patti Smith to the Clash through his automatic 55mm lens.” — National Post

“While the pictures [sic] tell a story all their own, they are accompanied by a personal narrative from Pyle about the Toronto punk scene he helped build. . . . Often the words that accompany photos in a photo book are a a throw away — not in this book. The words tell a great story on their own.” — 410 Media

“Any time you need a dose of the pre-irony, in it for the minute, bright and briefly burning world of early punk, step inside . . . just mind the broken glass.” — Abort Magazine

“Pyle's archives make for a great 'snapshot' of the nascent days of one of the most significant eras in modern rock history.” — Antimusic

“Thanks to Don Pyle I am now able to vividly imagine what it must have been like to be a teenager growing up in Toronto during this incredible time. His book, Trouble in the Camera Club, documents both his personal experiences and musical adventures sneaking into Toronto fixtures like the Horseshoe and the El Mocambo from ages 14–18.” — Canada Arts Connect Magazine