The Gay Essay

Anthony Friedkin. Yale Univ., $45 (144p) ISBN 978-0-300-20637-1
In 1969, just a few months after the Stonewall riots, 19-year-old photographer, surfer, and native Californian Friedkin set out to document gay culture in Los Angeles and San Francisco, a three-year, life-changing project riding the crest of the burgeoning Gay Liberation movement. The photographs span the dizzyingly multi-faceted culture of a harassed community suddenly visible and celebratory, from drag queens and hustlers to hippies, activists, defrocked clergy, and men and women experimenting with the fluid nature of identity. This photographic essay captures the poignancy and exuberance of those wildly free and creative years before the AIDS crisis. The 75 black and white photos combined yield a surprisingly subtle, and all the more vivid documentation of an era and community As Nayland Blake so eloquently states in his introductory essay, "These explosions of joy and these flowerings are fleeting, and yet they are exactly what was historically important about Gay Liberation." 75 full page plates. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 07/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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