What to do when life unravels right before your eyes? You live in the moment and take photographs as everything falls into place. This is exactly what photographer Fred W. McDarrah did and New York, along with the rest of the world interested in its culture and mystique should thank him for it.
McDarrah had been a long-standing contributor to the newspaper, The Village Voice. As a matter of fact, he was the only staff photographer connected to the publication for decades. He was also its first picture editor. McDarrah’s photographs of New York were instrumental to the newspaper’s success and they are now being celebrated in an exhibition and photo book.
Steven Kasher opened up Fred W. McDarrah: New York Scenes to the viewing public at their gallery located at 515 West 26th Street in New York. It will run from September 20 until November 3, 2018. Said exhibition showcases 100 of McDarrah’s most iconic images along with never before seen photographs from his vast photo collection. It is accompanied by a photo book of the same name, authored by historian Sean Wilentz and published by Abrams Books. The photo book covers five decades worth of McDarrah’s work with The Voice and features some 270 images of life in New York, along with photographs of the most influential writers, artists, musicians, and figures who called it home.
This exhibition and photo book release is a testament to McDarrah’s enduring work. It wasn’t just a case of being at the right place at the right time. McDarrah proved that he was more than just a passive cameraman snapping away at the sidelines. He put himself in the position to capture the best images the world had to offer — working his way into bars, cafes, and galleries where his subjects gathered. He was doing great documentary work and he knew it. Now, the world is privy to these fragments frozen in time.