Deborah Bell Photos: Elaine Mayes: Haight-Ashbury Portraits 1967-1968
Deborah Bell Pictures present Elaine Mayes: Haight-Ashbury Portraits 1967-1968, an exhibition of vintage portraits, prints a photographer shot in San Francisco’s now-legendary Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Note the last edition by Damiani from the book of the artistic director and curator PhotoFocus Kevin Moore, Elaine Mayes: Haight Ashbury Portraits 1967-1968the exhibition opened on November 17 and will be on view until March 4, 2023. This is the first monograph of Elaine Mayes’ Haight-Ashbury portraits, published more than 50 years after the photographs were taken.
In his text for his book Damiani, Kevin Moore writes:
Mayes saw the youth of his neighborhood not as a passing cultural phenomenon, but as individuals challenging media stereotypes. If they live for us today, it is because they embody both a historical moment and a timeless state that is youth. They are imbued with a sense of shy idealism, both in 1960s San Francisco and twenty-somethings around the world. With a relaxed, static and open square format, Mayes gives his subjects their own representational authority. After the summer of 1967, they seem like children of that cultural moment when flower children turned from happy idealists to disgruntled swindlers, when free love became a hard drug, and when their campaign to break free from their bourgeois upbringing began in earnest. but then got nowhere, leaving them stranded. What unites these portraits most is their overall sense of balance… a wobble between adolescence and adulthood, idealism and disillusionment.
Elaine Mayes describes the experience of taking these portraits:
Very early on in the Haight, I realized that the Summer of Love was a media-driven idea, and that the media actually created the situation in the Haight. I knew I wanted to make pictures that would show something other than the media version of Haight Ashbury. Most of the photos were of people standing outside, on the street, or sitting on steps or in a park. Sometimes we went to where the person lived. Meeting strangers in the Haight was common in those days. I used a Hasselblad on a tripod with long exposures and didn’t look at the camera during the exposure. Everyone I photographed was hooked on my idea of photos. It was the 1960s, after all. Haight Ashbury’s portraits had a special quality and spirit, coming from a time and place where there were many young people hoping for a better way of life. This time in San Francisco was unique and transformative for our culture and left a mark on everyone.
Elaine Mayes He was born in 1936 in Berkeley, California. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in painting and art history. After Stanford, Mayes attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where his instructors were John Collier, Jr., Richard Diebenkorn, and Minor White. Mayes was one of the few female students studying photography in the new photography program. She was the first woman to teach photography in the fine arts studio at the University of Minnesota in 1968. Mayes moved to New York in 1982 and began a teaching career at Bard College, Pratt Institute, the International Center of Photography, and New York University. He served as head of the photography department at the Tisch School of the Arts until his retirement in 2000.
Elaine Mayes’ photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. His work is in the permanent collections of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; The Museum of Modern Art in New York; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), among many other public institutions around the world.
Kevin Moore He is the artistic director and curator of FotoFocus. is the author Old Paris and Changing New York: Photographs by Eugène Atget and Berenice Abbott (Yale University Press); Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980 (Hatje Cantz); and Jacques-Henri Lartigue: The Artist’s Invention (Princeton University Press).
Elaine Mayes: Haight-Ashbury Portraits 1967-1968
November 17, 2022 – March 4, 2023
Deborah Bell Pictures
526 West 26th Street, Room 411
New York, NY 10001