My friend Lely Constantinople has been telling me for years about a trove of work she discovered in the basement archives of her then-boss, D.C. photographer Lucian Perkins, who documented the emerging D.C. punk scene at the beginning of his career. She was very excited about it then and now, and has long had the idea of trying to help set the work loose in the world.
Lucian is a two-time Pulitzer-Prizewinning Post photographer who was Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1994 and won the World Press Photo of the Year in '96. But all his photographs of bands like Bad Brains, Trenchmouth, Teen Idles, the Untouchables, and the Slickee Boys were taken before he was known for anything. Lely's husband Alec MacKaye was there for a lot of it. (He's also the brother of Ian MacKaye, frontman of the Dischord band Fugazi.) When she found the negatives, Lely recongized Alec, then her boyfriend, in the contacts.
Lucian, with Jayme McLellan, who is director of Civilian Art Projects in D.C., Lely, and Alec are taking the next step to try to get the work seen and published by launching a Kickstarter campaign. They have an exhibition planned for D.C. in November which will travel to New Orleans and Austin, and hope to publish a book.
If this appeals to you, head over to the Kickstarter page for Hard Art DC 1979 and have a look at their video.
And pass it around.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.