I nearly missed this show because I was unintentionally watching some jam festival on Pitt’s campus instead of being at the proper venue at Carnegie Mellon University. Eventually I figured out that I was at the wrong place, and I got to CMU just as Fugazi was taking the stage under a tent in a parking lot. I tried to use my college newspaper press pass to get on stage to shoot, but was denied. So I went to the other side of the stage and walked right up beside Guy Picciotto from where I photographed the entire set. I shot a number of images I liked at that show, but this is the only one that has survived electronically. One day I’ll find those negatives and rescan them. Dischord seems to like this image and has used it in a few places, so that makes me proud. Fugazi is still the best band I’ve ever seen live.
For about a year from summer 2004 to 2005, I lived in central Florida while working for a small newspaper. It was an interesting experience before I opted to head to Texas for graduate school. One of the few highlights from my time in Florida was living near Gainesville and seeing a number of memorable shows. This image is of Richmond, Virginia’s finest punk band Avail at the Common Grounds. I stood on stage to shoot the performance, but I only took about a dozen frames as I sang along with every song instead. Avail is one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live and this show one of my favorites I’ve ever seen. In column on the right in you can stream their album “Over the James” in the Spotify widget I’ll be updating each week.
Photographs by Builder Levy
Today is the birthday of West Virginia, which was admitted to the Union as its own state on June 20, 1863 after seceding from Virginia. It is the state in which I was born and raised, and for that I am proud. While I have taken many photographs in and of the state, today I’d rather share the work of Builder Levy. He is one of my favorite photographers to have documented Appalachia and its people — and they are some of the most honest, objective and beautiful images of the subject. I recommend checking out his book Appalachia USA, in which these few images can be found. Also, have a listen to my uncle Jerry Andrick’s song “West Virginia” at the bottom of the post.
On this blog, I will continue to use Mondays to post images related to music. As many of the musicians I have photographed are friends from West Virginia, I also have their music to share. Here’s a shot of my friends’ band Down Goes Frazier, who were based in Huntington in the mid-00s. If you’re a fan of the likes of Hot Water Music, Against Me or Planes Mistaken for Stars, have a listen (or download for free) their first two EPs below. Nowadays, members of DGF who aren’t a college professor are playing in the bands Rat Ship and Station(s).
This is my good friend Brian — a fantastic photographer and even better individual. He died of cancer on May 2, 2013. I did not know I had this image until I came across it cleaning off a hard drive just now. As soon as I saw it, I had to post it on here despite it being past five o’clock on a Friday evening. Looking at the contact sheet, I took this photo as a lighting test in the studio. Brian and I were in our first semester of graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin. It’s the only frame I shot of him. It was a difficult image to edit just now, so I barely did, and it brought tears to my eyes looking at it. I miss him.
From April 2011 until early 2012, my friend Zach and I produced a portrait project in Austin called Femme et vélo. The concept was simple — photographs of women on bicycles (with some vintage styling thrown in). It gave Zach and me the opportunity to be creative, but having to force the bike into all the images we published was limiting. So here’s one the last frames I captured on our shoot with model Cecilia — one without a bike. Click here for photographs with bikes.
Monday was Memorial Day (formerly known as Decoration Day), so I thought I’d share this image I took of the Cooper family decorating their mother’s grave near Bradshaw, West Virginia, in southern McDowell County. I spent months documenting the Coopers and another family in War, West Virginia, in 2007 as part of my graduate thesis project.