Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay

Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay

001 A391513 Hero
Above: Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, 1971

Anthony Friedkin's photographs take us back in time to the gay communities of Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1969 to 1973.

In a series of more than 75 vintage prints, Friedkin's "The Gay Essay" transports viewers into these tumultuous years — a turning point in the history of LGBT political activism.

A native of Los Angeles, Friedkin has been taking pictures in his home state of California since he was 8 years old. Then in the spring of 1969, when he was 19, he started "The Gay Essay" with the hope of recording gay life and its increasing visibility. His work was a combination of reporting and individual discovery, with Friedkin developing close relationships with the people he shot. They were trying to live openly, express their individuality and sexuality on their own terms, and improvise ways to challenge the mainstream.

“More than four decades after this work was created, 'The Gay Essay' stands as both a record of historic change in our culture and an eloquent testimony to Anthony Friedkin’s passion for the art of photography,” says Julian Cox, curator of the exhibition at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “We are left with a beautiful, sensitive record fit for the ages.”

The de Young Museum
Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
This exhibition will be on view from June 14 through January 11.

Click through for more images from the upcoming exhibit >>>

002 A391519 Hero
Gay Liberation Parade, Hollywood, 1972

003 A391487 Hero
Michelle Backstage, “C’est La Vie” Club, North Hollywood, 1972


004 A391498 Hero
Couple, Los Angeles, 1970


005 A391527 Hero
Jim, East Los Angeles, 1972

006 A391529 Hero
The Reverend Troy Perry, Gay Activist, in His Burnt Down Church, Los Angeles, 1973


007 A391502 Hero
Don Kilhefner and Morris Kight at the Gay Community Services Center, Los Angeles, 1972

008 A391512 Hero
Young Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, 1971

009 A391554 Hero
Pristine Condition, The Palace Theater, San Francisco, 1972

010 Drag+Queen%2C+Long+Beach+1971
Drag Queen, Long Beach, 1971


011 A391477
Jean Harlow, Drag Queen Ball, Long Beach, 1971

012 Jim+and+Valerie%2C+Hollywood+1970
Jim and Valerie, Trouper's Hall, Hollywood, 1970


013 A391518 Hero
May Doll, Gay Liberation Parade, Hollywood, 1972

014 A391497 Hero Lg
Couple in Front of Church, Los Angeles, 1970


015 Couple+in+front+of+Church+1970
Couple in Front of Church, Los Angeles, 1970

Latest News