The Importance of Documenting a Scene

I believe that documenting, through words, film, video or pixels, is of the utmost importance to any sort of community. It is for that reason that we’re gonna start doing our best to grab any and all photos and videos from the shows we’re putting on. We’ll then pool them for display here on the blog and perhaps in other ways in the future. Who knows. So please, if you’re out there with a camera, let us know. And again, if you’re working on a zine, make sure we get a copy.

Having this project in mind, I asked our friend Canice, Toronto hardcore photographer extraordinaire, to give us her thoughts on the importance of keeping track of what’s happened.

The truth is, I started taking photos at shows to compensate for my teenaged, social awkwardness. It became a way to justify my presence in a space that, to any 15-year-old, always feels way cooler than you could ever be. When I started getting into hardcore, this kind of self-preserving instinct gave me a reason to stick around in a male-dominated and violent music scene – I remember at one of my first hardcore shows (Our War’s last show), I was almost flattened by a headwalker. It seemed safer hanging off the side of the stage.

Five or six years ago at a show, you would never have seen a sea of digital cameras in the crowd, like the way you do now. But there was always one hanging around, for as long as I can remember. The hardcore photographer is as ubiquitous as the bands – I remember Town of Hardcore’s Sandra and Mimi Cabell hanging around in Toronto before I picked up a camera. The photography (well, not just photography, but illustrations and collages too) is vital to hardcore – without it, we wouldn’t have zines, flyers, 7” artwork, youth crew shirts with live shots on the back of them, cool logos, cool logos that are rips of Underdog artwork, Minor Threat on the porch or, most importantly, tangible proof of our youthful memories.

Hardcore needs the live show. Without it, it’s just poorly-played, badly-mixed noise. I think everyone gets into hardcore hoping for something else out of life: to beat the crap out of someone, to get hurt and not care, to jump off a stage, to escape from crushing boredom, to play music, to make friends. All of this happens at a show. Sometimes I look back at my shots and can remember exactly the moment when that happened – I hope other people look at my photos and feel the same nostalgia. And save for seeing it in person, the experience can’t be described to someone – sometimes you just need to show them a photo.


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June 2008
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