In this roundup of 1960s photography, Terence Donovan and Kenneth Graves document SF’s Bay Area, home to members of the Beat Generation and the Haight-Ashbury hippies. Leni Sinclair enters Detroit’s radical political and cultural scene, while Sylvan Rand hits the road with a gay motorcycle club. Shirley Baker discovers magic in the oft-forgotten Manchester and Salford slums.
Plus, one photographer created Esquire’s iconic covers featuring Muhammad Ali, JFK, and Andy Warhol–but you might not have heard his name.
“Donovan came to the forefront of fashion photography just as the glossies became a pop-culture phenomenon, dictating possibilities for fashion and beauty. Donovan’s noirish photographs offered moments of drama and repose, feeding youth fantasies about the ever-growing culture of self.”
“It was a sunny weekend in 1967 when photographer Rand hopped on the back of his friend’s motorcycle and headed for a sequestered farm in the New Jersey countryside. As the hours passed in a haze of food, cigarettes, love, and bikes, he joined in the festivities of an unofficial motorcycle run, where gay men gathered to enjoy each other’s company in an insulated, utopian setting.”
“’Study history, don’t forget about the repression: the McCarthy era, the Nixon era, and the war in Vietnam,’ Sinclair says. ‘The same things are still happening today. Like Jesse Crawford used to preach at the MC5 concerts, ‘You either part of the problem or you are part of the solution.’”
“In the 1960s and the two decades following, the streets of the Manchester slums became like a home away from home for Baker. There was little space to make a home and none for children to play, and yet youngsters spilled out into the streets in groups to congregate and frolic about with their toys.”
“Focusing on his immediate surroundings, Graves covered San Francisco’s Bay Area, home to members of the Beat Generation and the Haight-Ashbury hippie folk, walking the streets much like Garry Winogrand was doing in New York, capturing intrinsically American scenes.”
“Back then, Esquire covers weren’t just images; they were statements geared toward titillating and provoking.”