Brian Graham was a confidant of the great Robert Frank. He studied printing and photography with him and went on (alongside legendary printer, Sid Kaplan) to do a lot of the early printing work for Allen, as well as establishing himself (continuing to establish himself) as an accomplished photographer and a distinctive eye, in his own right.
Brian’s photographs of Michael McClure (taken, circa 1988, at The Gas Station, the fabled New York City performance space of the late Osvaldo Gomariz) capture his (Michael’s) soul and his kindness (much missed) and seemed to us very much worth sharing.
Brian writes: “I was surprised he was patient and put up with my demands, being such a famous poet – I remember thinking he was too well-kept or well-dressed, since we didn’t see this style around the East Village in the mid ‘eighties. At this time I was using black-and-white Polaroid material, and after I would make enlargements with its negative. It worked great for the artists portraits I was able to make at the Gas Station. It wasn’t until June 2016 that I would run into Michael again – at the Howl gallery for the Beat and Beyond gathering. He was staying at the Bowery Hotel, so I ran back to my Third Street home and brought back a copy of my collection, “Absurdity is King” for him to bring back to California. It struck me that the West Coast sensibility coming from McClure contains, well.. a large “cool wind” (as in “cool jazz”), watching the noble McClure reinforced that everlasting East Coast / West Coast distinction.”
R.I.P. Michael, fondly remembering him.