harDCore then and now
Since the early 1980’s, the face and geography of the DC punk scene has undergone significant change. The following collection of photos is part photo-essay/part-zine that seeks to explore what has changed and what has stayed the same in the punk spaces of Washington, DC. It is by no means exhaustive. The spaces chosen were picked based on both their importance to the historic punk scene in the city and the common elements they share today with venue choices at the time.
The spaces are eclectic and anchored to their local neighborhood: a church, a community center, an apartment, a record store, a dive bar. A 2015 radio report about St. Stephen’s Church of the Incarnation in Columbia describes the distinct nature of DC live music listening, “In DC, social activism has created what might be considered strange bedfellows in other parts of the country.” These spaces are about not caring about who cares and welcoming anyone who wants to listen. I think what struck me about photographing these spaces is that the environments are intimate and yet not exclusive. Punk concerts were held where they could be—this was part of the DIY nature of the movement as a whole. It’s about a group of misfit kids getting together to play music that spoke to them.