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Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay

Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay


Friedkin's photography chronicled a turning point in the history of political activism in the gay community.

001_a391513_heroAbove: 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_heroGay Liberation Parade, Hollywood, 1972

003_a391487_heroMichelle Backstage, "C'est La Vie" Club, North Hollywood, 1972

004_a391498_heroCouple, Los Angeles, 1970

005_a391527_heroJim, East Los Angeles, 1972

006_a391529_heroThe Reverend Troy Perry, Gay Activist, in His Burnt Down Church, Los Angeles, 1973

007_a391502_heroDon Kilhefner and Morris Kight at the Gay Community Services Center, Los Angeles, 1972

008_a391512_heroYoung Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, 1971

009_a391554_heroPristine Condition, The Palace Theater, San Francisco, 1972

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"659726","attributes":{"alt":"","title":"","class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","wysiwyg":1}}]]Drag Queen, Long Beach, 1971

011_a391477Jean Harlow, Drag Queen Ball, Long Beach, 1971

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"659736","attributes":{"alt":"","title":"","class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","wysiwyg":1}}]]Jim and Valerie, Trouper's Hall, Hollywood, 1970

013_a391518_heroMay Doll, Gay Liberation Parade, Hollywood, 1972

014_a391497_hero_lgCouple in Front of Church, Los Angeles, 1970

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

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