JS: Would the captions change much then, the more he was captioning? Especially some of the iconic ones which he must have captioned dozens of times.
BR: Sometimes the difference would be the change of an adjective, a tweaking, but sometimes something will come up and it gets longer and longer. They all build on each other. Writing about it is the memory of the sacred. This is what the prints represent. But those silver gelatin prints, they have an eternal etching to them, and the way the eyes look, the communication is … Read More
Bob Rosenthal first met Allen Ginsberg in the mid-1970s, when he and his wife helped the poet secure an apartment in the New York City building where they were then living. He started doing some part-time work for Ginsberg in 1977, eventually becoming his fulltime secretary in 1979, a job in which he remained until Ginsberg’s death in 1997. Often referred to as Ginsberg’s “right-hand man,” his main role was to handle the increasing amount of administrative … Read More
Long before she began working with Allen Ginsberg in the 1980s, Jacqueline Gens was inspired by the Beat writers. Discovering their work when she was in her teens, she points to Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Kaddish” as one that “just rocked my world.” A poet in her own right – she was a director and a founder of the Master of Fine Arts Programme in Poetry at New England College, and for many years worked at the Naropa Institute (now University) in Boulder, Colorado, where she first met Ginsberg – Gens played a crucial … Read More
John Shoesmith interview with Sid Kaplan on his work as printer of Allen Ginsberg’s photography continues
JS: I’m sure that famous Kerouac photo on the fire escape was one you probably could have done in your sleep, seeing as you probably printed it dozens of times.
SK: That was very tricky print to do. It was very underdeveloped, and at the time, I didn’t have the magic fluid handy. What happened with the Kerouac thing, we had it printed on a very hard grade of paper. The difference between the face and … Read More
JS: I’m interested in Allen and his photographic “eye” – did he know what he was looking for when he was looking at a contact sheet and what he’d want printed?
BG: Robert had a lot of influence over Allen (when it came to deciding what photos to print). But Allen took the pictures, so he knew what he was after. And there are a lot of good ones.He had a quirky kind of sensibility. Like the picture of … Read More
Brian Graham‘s journey from his birthplace of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia to New York City bgan in the early 1980’s when he met the famed photographer Robert Frank, who for many years has spent his summers in the Maritimes. Sensing that Graham was curious about photography, Frank invited him to New York City. While he began with carpentry work at Frank’s Bleecker Street apartment, it eventually led to helping Frank in the darkroom. “I learned how to print with Robert in the darkroom, which was really something.” Graham eventually established his … Read More
JS: Robert Frank was obviously an important influence for Allen.
RF: For most people I knew, Allen was a real hero, but Allen had his own heroes, and Robert was certainly one of them. Allen worshipped Robert. So the photography was a way for him to bond with Robert, and to be his student. He had another friend who was a photographer, who lived above Strand Books (in New York), Hank O”Neal. He was the commercial agent for Berenice Abbott. He was another person whom Allen relied on for … Read More
John Shoesmith interviews Raymond Foye on Allen Ginsberg’s photography
JS: You knew Allen before you started working with the photographs. How did your role with the photos begin?
RF: I met Allen in 1973 when I was sixteen, and a junior at Lowell High School. I went with the senior English honors class to a Kerouac symposium held at Salem State College, in Massachusetts. My English teacher, a lovely woman named Rita Sullivan, allowed me to go with the senior class, even though I was a junior, because she knew I was reading … Read More