At a time where a photographer has to simply go on holiday to justify a new book, Pat Graham’s incredible new document of cult indie rockers Modest Mouse – shot over 12 years on the road – is a revelation.
The book – 160 pages of highs, lows, packed shows and empty roads – is a rare parable of a band’s journey from bedroom dreamers to stadium kings and Graham’s connection with the band is evident from the intimate access and insightful diary entries.
The images sensitively capture a sense of the musicians’ personalities – honing on moments of joy, fatigue, possibility and fulfilment – and the book is a must-have for any fan of the band, or any fan of photography, sitting comfortably alongside such tomes as Glen E. Friedman’s Keep Your Eyes Open, about Fugazi.
Here’s an extract from the book:
“In 1992 I packed up my things and moved 15 hours east of my hometown to Washington, D.C. The punk music scene of D.C. inspired me.
My new home was the punk group house known as Positive Force. PF residents included activists, feminists, artists, and musicians. Everybody was doing something creative. My outlet was photography.
Soon I had a darkroom in my closet and I was developing and printing pictures from all the punk shows and protests I was witness too. Fugazi was at their height of creativity and new bands like Bikini Kill and The Nation of Ulysses played all the time.
Positive Force had a revolving door of likeminded people coming and going. One new housemate was Isaac Brock, a 16-year-old from Issaquah, Washington. Isaac struck me as very funny and super creative. The things that he would say and do made me laugh and think at the same time. We bonded over photography and our love of music. Isaac had his own great photos of bands from the Northwest and also loved the work of photographer Charles Peterson. I shared my pictures that I had shot of bands in D.C. with Isaac. He was very into them and I gave him a stack to keep. Isaac liked the blurring effect in my shots and wanted to explore this concept with me.”
The book is published by powerHouse Books on September 30, keep your ear to the ground for a London launch.