San Francisco, 1965-1967, 1975

Scope and content:

Gedney traveled to San Francisco several times, beginning with a relevatory visit from late 1965 to 1967, funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship. The last visit represented in this collection was in 1975, when he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to continue his photographic exploration of the U.S.

The many photographs in this series feature the hippie culture of Haight-Ashbury, with subjects including the Beat poets and artists, the Diggers (an activist group dedicated among other things to feeding the large population of young drifters), the Grateful Dead and their followers, and festivals in Golden Gate Park. Gedney associated closely with one particular group of young people, documenting their life inside their "pads," and followed them for months as they hung out on the streets and beaches and moved from one apartment to another. In later visits, Gedney also documented the "coming out" of San Francisco gay culture, mostly male, photographing gay rallies, parades, and other events.

Among the images taken in San Francisco in the sixties are portraits of well-known musicians, activists and writers, including "Pigpen" Ron McKuen of the Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg, and Tom Wolfe, as well as many images taken at the Golden Gate Park "Human Be-Ins." In San Francisco, Gedney also met writer-philosopher Eric Hoffer, and began a long-term friendship documented in the many photographs of Eric and his partner Lili Osborne.

Complementing the San Francisco photographs are the images taken in Southern California during the same periods; these prints are found in the United States series, U.S. Trips subseries, both in proof print and large print format. Striking night images taken in San Francisco are located in the Night Series, chiefly featuring stark images of cars and house fronts, but there are also many night scenes in the San Francisco series, showing young people in the streets and in cafes.

Also of interest in the Correspondence and Writings and Notebooks series are the many memo books, journals, and letters which offer details about Gedney's experiences in California.


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Portions of the collection are closed pending digitization.

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