In the Pit: Punk Rock Photos - 1981-1991 By Alison Braun, 88 pgs.

May 24, 2022

I think I first became aware of Ms. Braun's photos in Flipside. I probably did see her work in Maximum Rocknroll as well, but if you were looking to get blown away visually, then Flipside was your ticket because they ran photos larger than MRR, and sometimes even as a two-page spread. There was also an issue where they focused on “punktographers” and I remember the interview with her under her pen name—or uh, punk name—Mouse. I also remember coming away with the feeling that I too could to take up the camera and take photos at shows (something I eventually did a few years later).

When books on the 1980s punk and hardcore scene finally started coming out I was wondering when, and if, we would get a photobook of Alison Braun’s work because she has the shots of the iconic bands of that era. Like, these are some primo photos from someone who had an idea of what she wanted visually and worked to get it. So here we are, finally. Adam from Zips & Chains fanzine, and now No Plan Records, has given us the book we wanted and need.

You get Bl’ast, The Stains, DOA, a great shot of Danny Spira from Wasted Youth backlit by a stage light as he pours what may be water on his head, Kurt Brecht of DRI walking on top of the crowd, an early Henry Rollins in Black Flag as he leans into the camera and looks up, what is probably the best Descendents photo I’ve ever seen, Ron Emory of TSOL looking intense as though he’s in a fight with his guitar, Necros, and Tony Adolescent when they grew out their hair, America’s Hardcore, and more.

This books goes up to the very early years of what would be labeled “grunge” with Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and others. Interspersed among the photos are also flyers for the shows where the photos were taking, so you get an extra visual rush. This is really a great time capsule of that era, from how it started to where it eventually went. An absolutely essential book in regards to punk. –Matt Average (No Plan, [email protected], goodwillrecords.net)

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