In early 1979, photographer Jim Jocoy attended an auction at the Peoples Temple in San Francisco. More than 900 of its worshipers had died in a mass suicide-murder which came to be known as the Jonestown massacre, led to their deaths by activist-turned-doomsday cultist Jim Jones. When Jocoy saw some of the followers’ left-behind luggage, he saw a symbol of Jones’ “hollow, empty promise”, and took a picture. “Jonestown, the assassinations – they worked into the fabric of San Francisco, and unraveled its tapestry,” Jocoy says. “It was quite gloomy, that summer of hate, and punk was the soundtrack.”
The image is in Order of Appearance, a new book of Jocoy’s photography from the San Francisco punk scene of the late-1970s. It’s an intimate, diaristic view of an incipient youth subculture as Jocoy’s punk subjects primp and sneer while the city crumbles around them. There’s a yellow Volkswagen upturned in the street, freshly applied blue hair-dye, and allusions to the imminent outbreak of Aids.