Anthony Friedkin

(About art, specifically photography, and gay stuff.)

Opening soon at the de Young Museum in San Francisco (for 6/14/14 – 1/11/15), the exhibition “Anthony Friedkin:” The Gay Essay”. From the announcement:

A native of Los Angeles, Anthony Friedkin (b. 1949) honed his photographic skills at an early age and became a professional artist after he graduated from high school in the late 1960s. A variety of magazine assignments took him into the streets of his hometown, where he created vivid photo essays that examined the diverse neighborhoods and touched on some of the most important social and cultural issues of the time. During the culturally tumultuous years of 1969 to 1973, Friedkin made a series of eloquent and expressive photographs that chronicle the gay communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco at the time. TheGay Essay was a self-assigned project and, although largely unknown today, it arguably comprises the most important set of photographs in Friedkin’s portfolio to date.

For the first time, the full depth and range of this unique series will be presented in an exhibition at the de Young. Coinciding with the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay will present approximately 75 vintage prints. Friedkin’s portraits, taken in streets, hotels, bars, and dancehalls, demonstrate a sensitivity and an understanding that has imbued the series with an enduring resonance. Contact prints, documents, and other materials from the photographer’s archive will also be on view, illuminating the conception, process, and execution of this work and the broader historical context that gave rise to it.


Anthony Friedkin, Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, from the series The Gay Essay, 1971.

You could spend a long time analyzing the facial expressions and the stances.

[Added 6/7/14: Michael Palmer notes on Facebook that the Advocate‘s site has an album of images from this exhibition. Michael was especially moved by “the photo of Morris Kight and Don Kilhefner, of the GCSC, and Troy Perry in the ruins of his torched church”.]

From an earlier exhibition, “In Focus: Los Angeles, 1945 – 1980” at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, 12/20/11 – 5/6/12, the photo “Clockwork Malibu” (1978):


While Anthony Friedkin has documented subjects as diverse as the marginalized gay community of San Francisco, convicts at Folsom Prison, and brothels in New York, it is the Southern California coastline that has remained a recurrent theme throughout his forty-five-year career. The Los Angeles native took up photography about the same time he learned to surf. His images of waves deftly communicate the primordial power and elusive mysteries that he ascribes to the ocean. This photograph of surfer Rick Dano on an early morning drive up the coast conveys a mood of quiet, anticipatory harmony.

One Response to “Anthony Friedkin”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    On Facebook, Ned Deily tracked down Danos, starting from surfer Rick:

    Rick Dano, actor [“Speed”, “Underground”, “Splash”, much else; on IMDB here], son of actor Royal Dano (“Johnny Guitar”, “Twin Peaks”, among many others) [1922-94; Wikipedia page here] and father of actor (and rapper) Hutch Dano [Hutchings Royal Dano, born 1992, as a rapper known as “Fahrenheit 51”; Wikipedia page here]. According to IMDB: [Hutch] “Was lead singer in the Dano/Jones Band with Sex Pistols Steve Jones.” The Dano Family of Bad Boys. But [they are] apparently no relation to actor Paul Dano.

    Arne Adolfsen then unearthed a creepy video, “They Call Me Mr. Christmas”, written and performed by a crazy-eyed Rick Dano and directed by, yes, Anthony Friedkin.

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