The mosh pit was the first male space I cracked open, blinding everyone with my flash and shoving my camera in their faces. I didn’t ask permission, I just did it. All five foot four and one hundred twenty pounds of me armed with a Nikon F3 in one hand and a Vivitar 283 in the other.
Lisa was the same age as the students she now teaches when taking these photographs, embodying a free, imaginative and yet-to-be-tainted-by-the-professional approach we seem to leave behind through age. The concept of bounding around a show with camera in hand, free and open to what comes—an amateurism!—is something I try so hard to catch day to day, only to fail and miss the mark. These images celebrate the wild energy of being young, the diversity and spirit of punk. Add each snapshot together and it’ll barely be a minute captured.
The images in PIT aren't necessarily difficult to imagine, lightning fast, all sweaty forms clambering together, claustrophobic and in a frenzy—the mosh pit exactly as we know it. Through Lisa’s approach of pile-in-and-shoot, we’re left with what settles between the leaps and the blows. You feel the breathless gasp, a two second smile and a glimpse into the eyes of another.
Your heart stops and there is a rush of blood to the head as the familiarity of a hook lands and you’re thrown into a swell of people, I imagine the moment you bounce backward and notice Lisa. You smile. Others strike their poses; some remain expressionless, held like statues; some don’t notice her camera in that heartbeat, their body contorts and flails. What is held between these pages are not just these expressions but a representation of youth, fashion, enthusiasm and spirit that only a simple idea could capture.
PIT by Lisa Anne Auerbach collects photographs taken at Cabaret Metro and Cubby Bear in Chicago, Illinois between March and June 1985. The publication begins with an introduction by Lisa Anne Auerbach and ends with a conversation between Lisa and Ethan Swan. Eternal and ongoing thanks to Ethan for introducing me to these images when assembling Fix The Mirrors, and to Lisa for continuing to have courage and the faith in the amateur idea.
Lisa Anne Auerbach is an artist, student and teacher asking questions about agency and voice in a cacophonous world. Her knitted work, publications, and photographs have been exhibited at museums, galleries, bicycle shops and malls in America and beyond.
180mm x 265mm, 80pp, perfect bound, black risograph and digital printing, various paper stocks, pink gloss foil cover title, first edition of 300, other editions will follow.