It might be that the world seems to be recently discovering some previously little-known archives of 1960s-era photography because the photographers are now older and making efforts to push their work out into the world; or perhaps it's just that we now have enough perspective on this time period that it is acquiring historical distance sufficient to allow our interest; or it might be simply that I like photography from that time period, and that explains why I'm paying attention to it.
William Gedney, Teenage Boy Rolling a Cigarette, 1964
Two photographers of that period have crossed my wake in recent days. One is William Gedney, who died in 1989 and whose work was the subject of a now-unattainable book that I thought we recommended here on TOP although I can't find any mention of it now. He made two trips to Kentucky spanning only 29 days, in 1964 and 1972, and the work he did there is now part of a comprehensive online archive of his life's work that includes more than 5,000 pictures.
William Gedney, Vivian Cornett Fixing Daughter's Hair, 1964
William Gedney's Kentucky work is the subject of a series of posts by Roger May at Walk Your Camera—an easier way in than diving directly into the unedited archive (although I'm not sure I entirely agree with Roger's picture editing—then again, there's the big Duke University archive if you want to make your own choices). Here are the Walk Your Camera links:
John Claridge, no title given, 1963
The East End of London has been much discussed of late because run-down parts of it received a makeover for the Olympics venues. This is not firsthand knowledge on my part, but apparently the term "East End," denoting an area which appears to be more or less in the middle of present-day London, refers to an area just east of the original Medieval walled city. Traditionally it was poor and overcrowded (the Salvation Army was founded there, after an epidemic worsened already bad conditions), and apparently parts of it were improved by being wiped away in favor of temporary sporting facilities.
John Claridge, Accordion player, Spitalfields, 1970
The gentle author of a small blog called Spitalfields Life has been mining the early work of a photographer named John Claridge, who came up from the East End to become successful in advertising. His pictures of the East End were taken between 1959 and 1982, many of them when he was no more than a boy.
Here are the posts:
A Nation of Shopkeepers by John Claridge
John Claridge’s East End
Along the Thames with John Claridge
At the Salvation Army with John Claridge
In a Lonely Place
A Few Diversions by John Claridge
This was my Landscape
John Claridge’s Spent Moments
Signs, Posters, Typography & Graphics
Working People & a Dog
Invasion of the Monoliths
Time Out with John Claridge
Views from a Dinghy by John Claridge
People on the Street & a Cat
In Another World with John Claridge
A Few Pints with John Claridge
Great fun. I've been enjoying making my way through these.
(Thanks to Howard French and Ian Goodrick)
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Patrick Medd: "At last, my favourite photographer on my favourite photography website! I've been chasing after John Claridge's work since I first read a magazine feature on him 20 years ago. One of those rare photographers whose monochrome and colour work is equally compelling (to me). Indeed the colour photographs shouldn't work; pictoralist in many ways, heavily filtered, diffused...but he's not afraid to let large parts of his pictures render as pure black, and his use of this aesthetic appears magical to me. Check out his series of portraits taken at 'The French'—a pub in Soho, which are on his website."
Featured Comment by Tim Auger: "The East End has suffered two phases of comprehensive urban planning: one was implemented by the Luftwaffe, and the second by postwar planners and architects building stained-concrete housing fit for the masses, but which they themselves wouldn't be seen dead in (and which the masses don't like much either). It was called 'slum clearance.' And traffic management schemes. A lot of the old stuff's gone. The East End's a lot better than it was 10–20 years ago, but the intimate texture of urban life that you see in these pictures is pretty lacking now. Except in some of the recent concentrations of ethnic minorities maybe, which do have a good atmosphere."
Featured Comment by Cliff: "For more of Gedney see Shorpy."
Mike replies: Ah, that's where I'd seen his work before. Thanks, Cliff.
Featured Comment by Roger May: "Thanks very much for mentioning/linking to my series on William Gedney. Admittedly, I'm no photo editor. I could've easily posted hundreds of images, but only requested permission to use less than fifty. It's my hope that more folks learn about Gedney's work and share it with others. Again, thank you!"
Mike replies: 'Tis I who should thank you, Roger!