Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Allen Ginsberg's photographs of the Beats

by David Pescovitz

 Images Indelible-Allen-Ginsberg-Jack-Kerouac-Allen-Ginsberg-2

 Exhibitions 2010 Ginsberg Images Intro Ginsberg started taking photographs as a young man, in the 1940s, and kept doing so through 1963, when his camera was left behind on a trip to India. The result was a kind of Beat family photo album: informal, affectionate, full of personality—and personalities. We see, among others, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady and Orlovsky. Ginsberg liked to say he was "fooling around" with the camera (whether behind or before it). These were pictures, he felt, "meant more for a public in heaven than one here on earth—and that's why they're charming...

Ginsberg resumed taking pictures, more seriously, in the early 1980s. He was inspired by the example of an old friend, the photographer Robert Frank, and a new one, the photographer Berenice Abbott...

Ginsberg began using better cameras and having his photographs printed professionally. "I had been taking pictures all along," he told an interviewer in 1991, "but I hadn't thought of myself as a photographer." The most noticeable difference was a simple yet distinctive way he found to marry image and text.
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