The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
Now available in paperback, this intimate “family album” is a revealing photographic look at the Beat Generation as chronicled by the movement’s great poet, Allen Ginsberg.
Allen Ginsberg began photographing in 1953 when he purchased a small, secondhand Kodak camera. For the next 10 years he took photos of himself, friends, and lovers, including writers 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 Berenice Abbott and Robert Frank to reprint his earlier work and make new portraits; these included more images of longtime friends as well as acquaintances such as Larry Rivers, Francesco Clemente, and Bob Dylan. Ginsberg's photos form a compelling portrait of the Beat and counterculture generation from the 1950s to the 1990s. His photographs and the extensive inscriptions he added to them years later preserve what he referred to as “the sacredness of the moment,” the often joyous communion of friends and the poignancy of looking back to intensely felt times. More than 70 prints are brilliantly reproduced in this book, accompanied by an essay exploring Ginsberg's photography in relation to his poetry and other photographers of the time, a chronology of his photographic activity, and selections from an interview with Ginsberg in 1991.