Vi­sion­ary of the Voice

Fred McDarrah, who died re­cently, pho­tographed a gen­er­a­tion of Jewish creative ge­niuses. Alex Kas­riel pays trib­ute

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS -

FRED W MCDARRAH, a s e l f - d e s c r i b e d “square”, who died this month, aged 81, was re­spon­si­ble for some of the most sem­i­nal i mages of the 1960s. As a staff pho­tog­ra­pher for al­ter­na­tive New York news­pa­per The Vil­lage Voice, he cap­tured the images of the counter-cul­ture known as the Beat Gen­er­a­tion, which in­cluded some great Jewish artists, singers, po­ets and writ­ers such as Diane Ar­bus, Allen Gins­berg, Robert Rauschen­berg and Leonard Co­hen. His most en­dur­ing im­age is of Bob Dylan, shot in Sheri­dan Square Park i n 1965 to il­lus­trate a mu­sic re­view in the Voice. Dylan is dressed in black and salut­ing. In 1970 he took a land­mark photo of a young Dustin Hoff­man, and an­other fa­mous McDarrah photo, taken in 1967, is en­ti­tled Paul Thek Sit­ting Shiva for Dead Hip­pie. Born in Brook­lyn of Catholic and Protes­tant de­scent, McDarrah bought his first cam­era at the 1939 World’s Fair for 39 cents. But he did not start tak­ing pro­fes­sional pho­to­graphs un­til he was a para­trooper in oc­cu­pied Ja­pan fol­low­ing World War Two.

Thanks to the GI Bill, he took a jour­nal­ism de­gree at New York Univer­sity, though when he joined the Voice in 1959 it was as an ad­ver­tis­ing sales­man. He soon be­came the pa­per’s only staff pho­tog­ra­pher, and as the Voice grew he headed the de­part­ment. He be­came known as the eyes of the Voice but he also pho­tographed for his own book projects, start­ing with 1960s The Beat Scene and The Artist’s World in Pic­tures in 1961, fol­lowed by more than a dozen oth­ers.

Fred McDarrah


McDarrah’s fa­mous pho­to­graph of the young Bob Dylan taken in a New York park in 1965. Be­low: His shot of beat poet Allen Gins­berg

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