Fifty years ago this coming June, the Stonewall uprising occurred in Greenwich Village—an event that marked the coming- out of New York’s gay community and a refusal by gays to accept underground status that was as important in its way as the Montgomery bus boycott was to the civil rights movement. As a direct outcome of Stonewall, gay pride marches were held in 1970 in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
The ultimate chronicler of New York’s downtown scene in that period, and therefore of a signal moment in gay culture, was the late Fred W. McDarrah, the first staff photographer and first picture editor of the legendary Village Voice. Twenty-five years ago, to mark Stonewall’s 25th anniversary, McDarrah brought out a work that became a classic: Gay Pride: Photographs from Stonewall to Today. That book has long been out of print. Now, scanning from original negatives, OR Books has lovingly re-set and re-designed the book, newly entitled Pride. This edition also includes twenty-six photographs not in the original and available nowhere else.
The forthcoming edition of Pride features a new foreword by Hilton Als (the New Yorker critic, who got his first job from McDarrah) and essays by Allen Ginsberg and Jill Johnston. Its portraits of people and setting are unique, but as Hilton Als puts it, McDarrah deserves a lasting place in New York’s alternative history not only for his documentation of a world in transformation, but for his work as “an agent of change himself.”
Fred W. McDarrah is considered one of the essential chroniclers of alternative New York from the days of the Beats through the 1970s. As the first on-staff photographer for the Village Voice, he was one of the first professionals to photograph artists such as Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac. McDarrah received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in 1972. He died in 2007 in Greenwich Village.
Hilton Als is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University and a staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning theater critic for The New Yorker magazine. He is a former staff writer for The Village Voice and former editor-at-large at Vibe magazine. His most recent book, White Girls, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Lambda Literary Award.
Tim McDarrah, a former editor of Page Six, is the son of Fred W. McDarrah and the guiding light behind Save the Village Tours. Since 2007 he has with his family managed the Fred W. McDarrah Archive, a collection of 250,000 images and ephemera ranging from Woodstock programs to handwritten poems by Jack Kerouac.