Punk rock luminary Henry Rollins has been many things in his life: musician, actor, spoken word artist. With his latest effort he puts yet another identifier on his resume: conflict zone photographer.
In his new book, Occupants, Rollins collected years of pictures he took while traveling in places as far-fetched as Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Iraq. It's an impressive collection built entirely out of Rollins's desire to expose readers to corners of the world they may otherwise never see.
"To be in a place that is still digging themselves out of a war so many years later and realize that it’s the same planet as the one you live on, that all this destruction was created by your species, it could perhaps cause one to do some deep thinking about things," Rollins said via email to Wired.com. "Relatively speaking, Americans get off pretty lightly when it comes to global beatings. I am glad about this, but don’t want to live my life unaware of what is happening in other places. I don’t think anything good comes from that kind of ignorance."
Rollins rose to prominence after he joined the punk band Black Flag in 1981. Since then he's formed his own Rollins Band, played dozens of shows per year for the last 30-plus years, and even gotten into acting (he played a creepy-as-hell white supremacist in Sons of Anarchy).
So why add "photographer" to his curriculum vitae? Rollins, who got his first camera as a teenager, said he wanted to see if he could translate what he was seeing as a world traveler into images. He also saw the opportunity to do something different.
"Since I have no boss, hope, or career path, I just follow my interests and the prospect of doing this seemed like it would be a good challenge that would make me have to push myself," Rollins said.
Get a taste of the rocker's thoughts on some of his images in the gallery above. Occupants hits stores Saturday.
Rollins: "I was in the Karail slum and saw this group of men cutting the needles off syringes. I asked them if they were being very careful, the potential for spread of disease being very real. The man on the right spoke English and told me they were being careful. He then proceeded to take a syringe and pretend to stab his friend with it. I don’t know what they were going to do with all the syringes. If you look carefully, the needles are all over the ground."