Allen Ginsberg As Photographer

The late U.S. poet Allen Ginsberg also took photographs.

Essentially snapshots, taken, as most of us do, while hanging out with family and friends these images form a visual archive of Ginsberg’s literary acquaintances including most of the other major writers of the Beat era including Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and William S. Burroughs.

When Ginsberg began having these images enlarged from their negatives he started to add captions, written in longhand on the white space left at the bottom of the photograph. These captions add information, dates, locations, names and events, to our understanding of the photos. Somehow the idea of a poet adding text to photographs of writers seems so very appropriate

Chronicle Books published a collection of these images in 1993 entitled Snapshot Poetics.

If you like the idea of photographers combining text with their images, especially images of writers have a look through Elsa Dorfman’s site and click on the Housebook link which is sort of at your lower left on the transit map inspired guide to her site.

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