William Gedney (October 29, 1932 – June 23, 1989) spent a night at O’Rourke’s bar in Brooklyn, New York, on March 5 1960. Gedney moved to Brooklyn in 1951 to attend the Pratt Institute of Art. For 20 years he lived in an apartment close to the school. Photography became his passion and as these pictures show, Gedney was skilled not only in composing images and shooting in dim light, but at putting his subjects at ease. As he wrote in his extensive diaries:
“What matters most of all, is to penetrate into the pulsing life of the people themselves, to become imbued with their way of living, and to see their faces when they sing at their weddings, harvests and funerals֦.”
Gedney photographed throughout the United States, in India, and in Europe. From street scenes outside his Brooklyn apartment to the daily chores of unemployed coal miners, from the indolent lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury to the sacred rituals of Hindu worshippers, Gedney recorded the lives of others with remarkable clarity and poignancy. These photographs, along with his notebooks and writings, illuminate the vision of an intensely private man who, as a writer and photographer, revealed the lives of others with striking sensitivity. Included here are selections from Gedney’s finished prints, work prints, contact sheets, notes, notebooks, handmade photographic books, book dummies, and correspondence.
Via Duke University
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