WHO said punk was dead? The music, fashion and cultural movement is 40 years old this year and to celebrate 40 iconic photographs from the era are going on display in Brighton.

Depicting new wave bands including The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, Buzzcocks and Siouxsie & the Banshees, the images by photographers Ian Dickson, who now lives in Brighton, and Kevin Cummins are being exhibited together for the first time.

Photo-punk: 40 images from the birth of punk at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery will document the phenomenon’s early years of 1976-79 when the two photographers captured the bands, the fans and the mood of the new “dole queue rock”.

They pictured punk poet John Cooper Clarke and catalyst bands like Eddie and the Hot Rods and New York’s The Ramones, and later on bands including The Adverts, The Slits and X-Ray Spex to Slaughter and the Dogs and Joy Division.

Dickson started photographing rock stars in 1972 after hitching a lift from the north-east to London on Roxy Music’s tour bus in 1973, and landing a job at rock weekly NME. He became staff photographer with music paper Sounds just in time for the UK punk explosion in 1976.

"In my view, punk was the last great youth movement that still reverberates today,” said, Dickson, who moved to Brighton in 1999 with his wife Shoko and now markets his archive via galleries and the internet. “That’s why there is still so much interest in events that happened 40 years ago. The time since then has really flown but the images themselves still seem so fresh, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with both those who were there and later generations.”

Among the pictures on display will be a never-before-exhibited Sounds cover image by Dickson, captioned ‘The face of punk’ and featuring Clash fan Shane McGowan before he found fame as lead singer of The Pogues.

Cummins, who was chief photographer with the NME for 10 years, was Manchester’s premier documenter of its punk scene.

“Photographing punk when it hit Manchester was my first foray into the world of music photography, where I went on to make my career,” he said. “The city was a key location for the development of UK punk and post-punk, and I’m proud that these now-iconic images are being showcased 40 years later in another creative city like Brighton.”

As a photography student in Salford, Cummins was at “the gig that changed the world” – the day in June 1976 when the Sex Pistols, spotted by emerging Manchester punk band Buzzcocks, played at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall to an audience of around 42 people and set off a punk rock boom in the city. In the small audience were people who would play a big role in Manchester’s future music scene, including Tony Wilson, the creator of Factory Records, Joy Division’s Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook, Morrissey, who would go on to form The Smiths and was later photographed by Cummins draped upside down over a monitor in a “definitive shot”, music journalist Paul Morley and Mick Hucknall, of Simply Red.

It was Pete Shelley from Buzzcocks who would go on to describe his influence: “Kevin Cummins was sometimes more important than the bands.” And Noel Gallagher, from Manchester band Oasis, said: “Kevin’s photographs have changed the way fans perceive their idols.”

Iconic photography by Cummins of Joy Division in Hulme, Manchester, will also be on display in the exhibition alongside early images of punk pioneers The Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash, a survey of those inspired to join the punk movement, including The Buzzcocks and Siouxsie and The Banshees, and punk memorabilia lent by Cummins. The display will also feature the 1977 film Punk in London by German student Wolfgang Büld, which captures performances and views from the movement’s biggest year.

And in the museum’s Fashion Gallery, a distinctive stage outfit worn by original Damned member Captain Sensible, who now lives in Brighton, will be on show, along with a Gibson guitar heavily used at the band’s gigs.

Captain Sensible (real name Raymond Burns) said: "This guitar has been thoroughly road-tested in typical Damned fashion - having been set on fire and attacked with an axe. Amazingly, it has survived to tell the tale!"

• Photo-punk: 40 images from the birth of punk by Ian Dickson and Kevin Cummins is at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery from November 22 until March 5. For further details, visit brightonmuseums.org.uk, phone 03000 290900 or email visitor.services@brighton-hove.gov.uk