Anthony Friedkin, Hustlers, Selma Avenue, Hollywood, 1971, from the series The Gay Essay. Gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Mary and Dan Solomon, 2011.66.8
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From 1969 to 1973, Anthony Friedkin made a series of eloquent and expressive photographs that chronicled the gay communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Gay 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 rebellion in New York City, Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay presents approximately 75 vintage prints. Friedkin’s portraits, taken in streets, hotels, bars, and dance halls, demonstrate a sensitivity and an understanding that has imbued the series with an enduring resonance.