Item #1479 Original Photograph of VS. ("Versus"), San Francisco's First All-Female Punk Band. f-Stop Fitzgerald, Richard Minissali.
Original Photograph of VS. ("Versus"), San Francisco's First All-Female Punk Band
Original Photograph of VS. ("Versus"), San Francisco's First All-Female Punk Band

Original Photograph of VS. ("Versus"), San Francisco's First All-Female Punk Band

San Francisco: f-Stop Fitzgerald, 1979. f-Stop Fitzgerald. Original black-and-white photograph print matted and framed under glass in a metal frame. Exposed print measures 13" x 9". Frame measures 20.25" x 16.25". Photo in Fine condition; mat has become slightly warped along upper edge of photo. Slight scratches on metal frame. Decal on rear of print with Minissali’s name, his San Francisco residential address and “1979.”. Fine. Item #1479

Of the photographers documenting the localized punk scenes that spontaneously sprang from the Ramones zeitgeist, f-Stop Fitzgerald is one of few whose name is readily recognized. That recognition is tribute to his photographic style and, of course, his gimmicky moniker. But if his misguided name was slightly cringey, his style readily grasped punk's aesthetic as a rejection of the mid-'70s post-hippie dross. Instead of framing bands in the rockstar glow of smoke machines and limousines, Fitzgerald used insane-asylums and industrial wastelands. Those settings and his habit of shooting at odd angles created a disturbing visual language somewhere between Brassai and Weegee. (Perhaps his best known photo is the Dead Kennedys, each bedecked in a white dress shirt with a spray-painted black S bisected by a black necktie, thus creating a dollar sign.)

This image of VS. fits within that oeuvre, with the women appearing feral, behind bars. The photo appears on page 49 of f-Stop Fitzgerald's book Wide Angle (San Francisco: Post-Contemporary Productions and Last Gasp, 1982). Moreover, a photo of VS. from the same photoshoot appears on the cover of X-CAPEES A San Francisco Punk Photo Documentary (Oakland, CA: X-Capees Press, 1980). This print was included in a 1981 touring exhibit, from which it was bought, titled Coast to Coast: Punk Rock and New Wave Photographers. The exhibit originated at the Light Work Gallery at Syracuse University. Aside from Fitzgerald, photographers included Robert Mapplethorpe, William Coupon, Raye Santos, Stanley Greene, Sue Brisk, and Chester Simpson among them. On the West Coast, the show was presented at UC Berkeley's Heller Gallery, Lewis and Clark College (Portland), and the Rosco Louie Gallery (Seattle). Rosco Louie was Seattle's ground-zero for visual arts of the punk underground. Owners Larry Reid and Tracy Rowland supplemented “Coast to Coast” by exhibiting additional photographers from Seattle, among them Randy Hall, Cam Garrett and Randy Erickson. In 1989 a modified "Coast to Coast" exhibit was mounted in Europe, adding additional photographers, resulting in a publication of the same name.

As for VS., the band formed in early 1978 with bassist Olga DeVolga (previously in The Offs), Anny Unger, (later, The Gun Club) and Jane Weems (previously in The Maggots), joining rank with other all-female West Coast punk bands of the era including The Dishrags (Vancouver, BC), the Neo Boys (Portland), the Go-Gos (Los Angeles) and, much later, Dickless (Seattle) and Sleater Kinney (Olympia). Scarce.


Price: $1,450.00