“The whole Beat scene had very little to do with the participation of women as artists themselves.
The real communication was going on between the men,
and the women were there as onlookers…
You kept you mouth shut,
and if you were intelligent and interested in
things you might pick up what you could.
It was a very masculine aesthetic.”
Inception: Recognizing Absence
“The poignancy of the photograph comes from looking back to a fleeting moment in a floating world.” Upon Allen Ginsberg’s reflection on nearly a lifetime of capturing photographs, his remark seems most fitting when considering those less visible, but equally significant writers of the Beat Generation. Gazing through Ginsberg’s lens of cultural history exposes complex narratives, both fleeting and lasting, of nonconformity, rebellion, and artistic spirit. Though it also reveals a powerful void; an absence of silence and omission. At a time when women’s independence was either limited or non-existent, such spaces enveloped female artists striving for personal freedom amid male dominated society. The women of the Beat Generation were active counterparts within this subculture, yet their lack of visual representation exposes a fissure in Ginsberg’s photography. Continue Reading…