In 1965, Larry Keenan was asked by the poet and playwright Michael McClure if we would like to photograph a group of his friends. Asking McClure who his friends were, Kennan was astounded when he listed the names that included Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Bruce Conner, Neal Cassady, and Ken Kesey. He had studied the works of these groundbreaking poets, writers, and artists, and recognized the significance of this opportunity.
Twenty-one years old, Keenan spent over a year documenting the last days of the Beat Generation with a borrowed 35mm camera, photographing the Beats in their homes and with their families and friends. His portraits constitute a unique chronology and reportage of this era, and many of these photos have since become iconic images that represent a literary generation. Here, in this book of 20 postcards, is a timeless rendering of the spirit of the Beats.
"This slim volume produced by City Lights Publishers offers the reader a taste of Keenan's astounding work in post-card-sized bites: Especially riveting are the shots of Bob Dylan, Michael McClure and Allen Ginsberg taken in the alley behind City Lights Bookstore in 1965, before Dylan’s San Francisco show with Robbie Robertson and The Hawks. Also of note is the shot of Neal Cassady in front of the mirror shaving, and the wonderful photo of the late Allen Ginsberg sharing a private moment with Dennis Hopper. Keenan’s work, always pristine and often over-looked, provides a personal glimpse into the magical cool and troubled heart of the 1960s." —Jacob Aiello, Electric Review
Larry Keenan is a recipient of the prized Phelan Award for his fine art photography. He is also an award-winning advertising and corporate photographer who specializes in combining the traditional medium of photography with contemporary digital techniques. His photographs are in museums and private collections throughout the world, and were recently exhibited in the Whitney Museum's Beat Culture and the New America and the Smithsonian Institute's REBELS: Artists and Poets of the '50s.