Beat memories

Beat memories

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The celebrated American poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) began photographing in the late 1940s when he purchased a small, second-hand Kodak camera. For the next fifteen years he made intimate and often exuberant portraits of himself, his friends, and lovers, including the writers and poets Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso as well as Beat personality Neal Cassady. He abandoned photography in 1963 and took it up again in the 1980s, when he was encouraged by photographers Berenice Abbott and Robert Frank to reprint his earlier work and make new portraits; these included more images of long-time friends as well as other acquaintances such as painters Larry Rivers and Francesco Clemente and musician Bob Dylan. Ginsbergs photographs form a compelling portrait of the Beat and counterculture generation from the 1950s to the 1990s, tracing their arch from youthful men to aging, often spent, figures. Far more historical documents, his photographs and the extensive inscriptions he added to them years later preserve what he referred to as qthe sacredness of the momentq, the often joyous communion of friends and the poignancy of looking back to intensely felt times. More than seventy prints, including a few qdrugstoreq prints made in the early 1950s, are brilliantly reproduced in this book, accompanied by Sarah Greenoughs essay on Ginsbergs photography in relation to his poetry and other photographers of the time, a chronology of his photographic activity, and selections from interviews with Ginsberg between 1958 and 1996.Car had backed into him up on 12th Street corner Avenue A weeks earlier ... Here age 78 in basement apartment backyard East 7th Street near Avenue C, Lower East Side New York.-Mayl8 ... any heavy shopping with monthly Social Service Indemnity checks at Supermarket a mile away in Center Moriches, Long Island.

Title:Beat memories
Author:Sarah Greenough, National Gallery of Art (U.S.)
Publisher:Prestel Publishing - 2010-05-01


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