In the summer of 1978, The Bags had just finished playing a show at the Whisky when a skinny, bespectacled young man walked over to me and struck up a conversation. He was kind of nervous and after complimenting the band, he seemed to have run out of things to say. I was about to walk away when he impulsively pulled out a little book from a canvas satchel and thrust it towards me.
"Have you seen this?" he asked. It was Donna Santisi's book, Ask The Angels. On the cover was a beautiful photograph of Trudie Arguelles and Hellin Killer, looking like they'd just been kicked out of Heaven for making trouble. I was immediately captivated as each page treated me to photos of the people who were steering rock music in a new direction. What set Donna's book apart was that these were not the usual preening and posing rock gods featured in national music publications. Donna was chronicling the underground, rebels who were upsetting the apple cart of the music business.
I was so engrossed in the images that I almost forgot about the young man who had been looking over my shoulder. "Thank you for letting me see your book," I smiled at him.
"Keep it," he said, "if you like it that much, keep it." And I did.
32 years later, I am honored that Donna Santisi has agreed to answer my Women In LA Punk interview questions. I am also very happy to announce that her seminal punk photography collection, Ask The Angels, has just been republished in an expanded version with even more great photos. Congratulations, Donna!
Ask The Angels captures a very special moment in time for me personally, but it's just the tip of the iceberg as far as Donna's photographic career is concerned. I encourage you to check out her website at http://www.santisiphotography.com to see more of her amazing work. Those of you in the LA area have the opportunity to meet Donna personally and have her sign your copy of Ask The Angels on August 12th at Book Soup in West Hollywood. More details can be found here.
Read Donna's Women in LA Punk Interview and see more of her photos by clicking on the thumbnail below. Enjoy!