Touch Me I'm Sick


Poised at the epicenter of an explosive underground scene, photographer Charles Peterson witnessed the birth of a brash new era of music that grabbed the world by its throat and refused to let go. Grunge, the bastard child of 60s garage and 70s punk, revived the original, gritty spirit of rock and roll: rebellion ain?t pretty, but it sure is fun.

Featuring ninety-two photographs?eighty of them never-before-published?spanning sixteen years, Touch Me I?m Sick, Peterson?s third ...

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Poised at the epicenter of an explosive underground scene, photographer Charles Peterson witnessed the birth of a brash new era of music that grabbed the world by its throat and refused to let go. Grunge, the bastard child of 60s garage and 70s punk, revived the original, gritty spirit of rock and roll: rebellion ain’t pretty, but it sure is fun.

Featuring ninety-two photographs—eighty of them never-before-published—spanning sixteen years, Touch Me I’m Sick, Peterson’s third monograph, documents the raw power of live performances by the soon-to-be-famous artists and their dedicated fans. Yet Peterson’s photographs don’t rely on the cult of celebrity to tell this compelling tale of angst, anxiety, and acoustics. Rather, they capture the cathartic ritual between musician and fan played out in seedy clubs reeking of sweat and stale beer. Bored, alienated youth with nothing better to do than bash their instruments and mosh their bodies in a barrage of sound, song, and furious energy are captured through Peterson’s signature style of wide-angle intimacy, swirling lights, and strange sense of grace. Peterson creates timeless, artistic imagery out of this swiftly passing frenzy, and shatters the godhead of the rock star, revealing the band and audience as co-conspirators in rock’s latest, greatest revival.

Featuring photographs of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Sleater-Kinney, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, L7, Hole, and Black Flag, among others, as well as excerpts from Your Flesh, Flipside, Melody Maker, B-Sides, Swellsville, and Chemical Imbalance, Touch Me I’m Sick is the perfect mix of art and journalism for music purists and connoisseurs.

“And you know what? I think other photographers secretly want to be like Charles and Charles secretly wants to be like other photographers. And it’s a hard call—would you rather have that street cred, punk rock hipness, and respect from all the cool bands, or industry suave that gets major magazine editors and record exec dorks to fly you all over the world for photo shoots and pay you outrageous amounts of money?”
—Jennie Boddy, Your Flesh #25

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Photographer Charles Peterson's keen eyes, sharp skills and good fortune to be at the right place at the right moment cinched him a key role as documentarian of grunge music, a critical mass of fresh, wild, angst-heavy rock energy that combusted in Seattle in the early '90s. His raw, richly detailed images helped bring exposure to a phenomenon that been mostly underground. — Mary Ishimoto Morris
Library Journal
For his third monograph (after Screaming Life: A Chronicle of the Seattle Music Scene and Pearl Jam: Place/Date), Peterson gathers more than 90 black-and-white photographs-of which 80 have never been seen-of the early 1990s punk and grunge movement. The camera-shy likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Sonic Youth granted Peterson access, and the result is less a portrait of rock stars performing than a series of intimate snapshots documenting how music influenced the lives of those who experienced it. Where other photographers have showcased the serious (maybe even humorless) side of grunge, Peterson often plays up the comical. But most important is Peterson's perspective-not that of the rock photographer but of the rabid fan who just happened to be there taking pictures. Readers get a front-and-center seat to inspiring events that most never had a chance to see. Putting the pictures in context are an introduction by Pearl Jam's lead singer, Eddie Vedder; essays by Peterson and Jennie Brody, former publicist for Sub Pop Records; excerpts of articles from publications such as Your Flesh and B-Side; and a photo index. Highly recommended for larger performing arts collections.-Rachel Collins, New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576871911
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 12.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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