In the early 1980s, barely 18 years old, Japanese-American Naomi Petersen got her rough and fast start as a resident photographer for the independent Los Angeles label, SST Records. From 1982 to 1994, Naomi captured unique images of legends like punk greats Black Flag, Minor Threat, Misfits, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Descendents and The Minutemen as well as some of the earliest known photos of iconic rock artists like Guns N’ Roses, Dave Grohl, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Fugazi and Pantera.
Moving from Los Angeles to DC in 1989, Naomi became a bi-coastal minstrel and continued to document powerful artists while working at the legendary 9:30 Club. In 1994, after just twelve short years, Naomi shockingly retired from photography and didn’t take another picture until three years later, taking her last known images.
“Naomi’s work is timeless and iconic. It is a real gift for all music and photography lovers around the world. His personal story as an artistic underdog is inspiring and powerful which I am honored to help share. – Ash Avildsen, Sumerian CEO
“I have always been in awe of Naomi’s work and her dynamic filmmaking style, but after learning more about her personal story and her quiet battles with mental health, I believe Naomi Petersen will resonate with generations more than ever. current ones.” – Ryan Anthony Menge, Sumerian Vice President of Creation
2021 has seen Naomi Petersen’s influence reach new heights due to her photo inclusions on Dave Grohl’s “What Drive Us” TV show, a high profile collaboration with street artist Shepard Fairey, and crowds of OHS fanatics looping back and forth to pledge allegiance. Tragically, Naomi died at age 38 on June 13, 2003 and is no longer around to see the impact her photos had on the music world. As the artists she photographed live forever in her images, so does Naomi in the memory of her works.
“When I walked into the home of Chris Petersen (Naomi’s brother) in Northern California and looked into an archival time capsule, I saw a chilling glimpse of Naomi’s incredible journey and I “I’ve developed an instant commitment to getting her story told. Ash, Ryan and the team at Sumerian Comics are the ultimate partners in coming to show the good life of Naomi Petersen to the world. – Sean E. DeMott of Execution Style Entertainment
This archival acquisition and development is made possible by Punk LIfe Naomi™, the estate of Naomi Petersen, her brother Chris Petersen, Sean E. DeMott of Execution Style Entertainment, Ash Avildsen of Sumerian Comics, and Ryan Anthony Menge.
Future plans for Naomi’s story and archives will be announced soon.