A Pulitzer Prize Winner's Photos of the Early DC Punk Scene

| Mon Jun. 24, 2013 6:00 AM EDT
HR of the Bad Brains at Hard Art Gallery, September 15, 1979 (Akashic Books, 2013).

Photographer Lucian Perkins earned two Pulitzer prizes during his 27 years working for the Washington Post, shooting nearly every major historical event of the past two decades. (More recently he cofounded Facing Change, a group that documents rural America in the spirit of the Farm Security Administration.) In his archives, among shots of the Berlin wall coming down, war in the former Yugoslavia, and Palestinian uprisings in the West Bank, Perkins' assistant Lely Constantinople discovered that her boss also happened to have some amazing, rarely seen photos of the early DC punk scene, shot early in Perkins' Post career.

One night in 1979, while interning in the photo department, Perkins found himself at the Hard Art gallery in DC. The young crowd's attention was fixated on an all-black punk band called the Bad Brains, who belted out tight, fast, short songs. Sensing a story, Perkins spent the following four months photographing the nascent scene.

 

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