Edward Colver

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Edward Colver
Edward Curtiss Colver

(1949-06-17) June 17, 1949 (age 74)
Pomona, California, United States[1]
Years active1978–present[2]
SpouseKarin Swinney[1]

Edward Curtiss Colver (born June 17, 1949) is an American photographer, best known for his early punk photographs.[3][4]


Colver not only created a visual document of the birth of the hardcore punk in suburban Southern California from late 1978 to mid-1984, but also he greatly helped in defining the photography style and graphic identity of the American hardcore punk movement.[2][3]

He was actually in the right place at the right time, and with the right attitude, but he was not merely a witness in the eye of the storm, he was indeed a living part of that big picture, and in this regard, his early work is an authentic self-portrait of the Southern California hardcore punk scene in its golden years.

His work was featured extensively in the book American Hardcore: A Tribal History (2001), written by Steven Blush, and in its documentary film version, American Hardcore (2006), directed by Paul Rachman.[3]

Early life and family[edit]

A third-generation Southern Californian born on June 17, 1949, in Pomona, California, Colver was named after an ancestor who arrived in the United States from Cornwall, England, in 1635.[5] Edward's father, Charles Colver, was a forest ranger for 43 years. Upon his retirement, Charles was presented with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Award by President George H. W. Bush at the White House. The tallest peak southwest of Mount San Antonio aka Mount Baldy, was named Colver Peak after Charles.[1]


Essentially a self-taught photographer,[2] Colver had a brief formal training during night classes at University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied beginning photography with Eileen Cowin. Largely influenced by Dada and Surrealism, Colver was most impressed in his early years by the art of Southern Californian native Edward Kienholz. In the late 1960s, Edward's perspective on life and art was changed by his exposure to composers such as Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krzysztof Penderecki and John Cage.[1]

Three months after he began taking photographs, Colver had his first photograph published: an image of performance artist Johanna Went, featured in BAM magazine. Since then he has shot photographs for dozens of record labels including EMI, Capitol and Geffen. His pictures have been featured on more than 500 album covers and include some of the most recognizable and iconic covers of the punk era.[1]

Selected cover art contributions[edit]

Year Album title Artist Contribution
1980 Group Sex Circle Jerks front, back cover and inner sleeve photos[6]
1981 "Louie Louie" (single) Black Flag front and back cover photos[7]
1981 Damaged Black Flag front cover photo
1981 Danger Zone (EP) China White front cover photo
1981 Let Them Eat Jellybeans! various artists back cover photo[8]
1981 Reagan's In Wasted Youth back cover and insert sheet photos[9]
1981 T.S.O.L. (EP) T.S.O.L. front cover photo
1981 Dance with Me T.S.O.L. some inner sleeve photos[10]
1981 Welcome to Reality (EP) Adolescents front cover photo[11]
1982 How Could Hell Be Any Worse? Bad Religion front cover and some insert sheet photos[12]
1983 Mommy's Little Monster Social Distortion back cover photo[13]
1983 L'amour Lewis front cover photo[14]
2019 Submit to the Blade The Balboas back cover photo

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Photographer Biography". Edward Colver (official website). Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Frankel, Ricky; Wisniewski, Kira (November 26, 2014). "Interviews: Edward Colver". Punknews. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Photographer Edward Colver "The Eye of LA Punk"". Edward Colver (official website). Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  4. ^ "Ed Colver Discography at Discogs:". discogs. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "ACHOF Featured Artist Portfolio – Photographer Edward Colver". Album Cover Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  6. ^ Circle Jerks, Group Sex, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  7. ^ Black Flag, "Louie Louie", cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ Various artists, Let Them Eat Jellybeans!, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Wasted Youth, Reagan's In, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  10. ^ T.S.O.L., Dance with Me, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Adolescents, Welcome to Reality, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Bad Religion, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Social Distortion, Mommy's Little Monster, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  14. ^ Lewis, L'Amour, cover art. discogs. Retrieved June 15, 2015.

Further reading[edit]

Further viewing[edit]

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