Book Review: Frame of Mind By Antonia Tricarico

Frame of Mind collects the photography of Antonia Tricarico into a concise volume that serves as both a celebration of her work and an overview of twenty years of punk rock. Subtitled Punk Photos and Essays From Washington, D.C., And Beyond 1997-2017, Frame of Mind documents her journey as an artist from her arrival from Rome to Washington D.C. in 1997 where she spent many hours capturing the underbelly of the D.C. punk scene, as well as of defiant essence of that time.

On stage, in dressing rooms or hanging out in packed sweaty bars, her camera captured glimpses of Fugazi, Lungfish, The Make-Up and Deep Lust along with Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip, Patti Smith, Mary Timony, Jello Biafra and Bratmobile among others. Female centric in subject matter Tricarico’s camera has captured not only the D.C. Punk scene but also the highly influential Riot girl movement of the time. There’s also a lot of Fugazi, a pioneering band whose fingerprints remain smudged all over the terrain of contemporary punk and and indie music.

Using 200 pictures taken from a variety of venues including New York, Rome and Washington D.C., Tricarico has not only preserved this musical era for the visual record, she has captured it’s very heart and soul. Working largely in black and white, her photos capture bands at work, play, hanging out, and most importantly onstage. Collected together they give readers a look at the microcosm of punk influenced music of the late 1990s.

Tricarico’s passionate introduction about falling in love with the music she chronicled is accompanied by fourteen essays from ladies whose take no prisoners music including Natalie Avery of Fire Party, Amanda Huron of Puff Pieces and others.

Rock pioneer Joan Jett writes about how music was her passion at early age. Recounting how she asked her parents for an electric guitar for Christmas. Jett also talks about how, for her music led to way to do things on her own terms. Spelling things out, Jett is candid about her passion for music while also serving notice that more and women are making rock music.

In her essay Trophy Wife’s Katy Otto admits how the burgeoning D.C. punk community made her the person she is today. In addition t shaping her musical taste the scene helped her forge relationships, organize her life and get the gumption to help launch her own label, Exotic Fever Records

Known for her work in The Evens, Mr. Candy Eater Lois, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, drummer Amy Furina, along with her husband Ian MacKaye, helped shape the D.C. punk sound. In her contribution, Farina reveals how her world was opened to art and music, allowing her to channel her activism and creativity. for her, words and music are essential forms of communication.

In addition to featuring photographs of a cross section of bands, the book brings the dynamic work of Antonia Tricarico front and center. In addition to her work as a music photographer Tricarico has been featured in several exhibitions and served as an archivist for the Pulitzer Prize winning Lucian Perkins of the Washington Post. Her work has also been collected in the private collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History as well as the Special Collections Division of the District of Columbia Public Library’s, Punk and Go Go music archive.

Rough and raw, this comprehensive anthology of Antonia Tricarico’s pictures not only accentuates her work in bringing the D.C. punk scene to the masses but also serves as a clarion call to discover these voices from the underground, particularly women, who have changed music with ferocious vigor, aggressive rage and independent spirit.

Frame of Mind is published by Akashic Books.