Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
On Sept. 4 Akashic Books will publish Silent Pictures, a collection of photos by Pat Graham that documents the D.C. rock scene in the ’90s, and also features acts like Modest Mouse, Bikini Kill, and the Shins. (Akashic makes sense as the publisher of choice: it was founded by Girls Against Boys‘ Johnny Temple.) It’s a fun nostalgia trip for anybody who was paying attention to indie rock in the ’90s, or who just wants to learn what the fuss was all about. Graham spent much of the decade in D.C. (he now lives in London), and the book has a few casual, relaxed shots of iconic indie-rock musicians at the time—Unrest in a Bethesda yard in 1993, the Make-Up strolling through foggy London in 1997. But Silent Pictures is mostly made up of band photos like the one above, of Fugazi at St. Stephen’s Church in 1992—serious and intense action shots that expose Graham’s knack for capturing musicians at their fiercest, vein-popping-est moments. (On the same page as that MacKaye shot is one of Ian Svenonius flailing on the Black Cat stage in 1993 and Sleater-Kinney‘s Carrie Brownstein in San Francisco in 1994, when she was in Excuse 17. Elsewhere is a shot of Lou Barlow hoisting his guitar in such a way that makes the mope look suprisingly, impossibly badass.)
In her afterword to the book, Cynthia Connolly notes that Graham often had trouble getting his due:
Pat was always the nice guy. He was constantly helping people out, taking photos, giving photography advice to people like me. When he started getting all these jobs shooting photos for bigger magazines, he had problems, as do most photographers, with getting paid and receiving credit for his work. One year, for a gift, I letterpressed him some business cards with big words that said, PHOTO CREDIT: PAT GRAHAM.
Graham will be in D.C. to discuss the book on Sunday, September 23, at 6 p.m. at the Dupont Circle Olsson’s.
Photo used with permission of Akashic Books.