Monday, February 12, 2007

To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free

Hunter S Thompson is one of my favourite writers of all time and possibly the best journalist ever. And although many will dismiss his drug-fuelled rants as just that, there was always a cutting edge to his writing and his political discourse in the 1970s. He really brought out the corruption, lies and deceit that dominated that era’s politics and society in America in a time before there was the internet and blogging to do that.

So I was very excited when I read that Hunter S. Thompson’s personal photos were going to be shown in an exhibition in London.

I’ve nicked these photos off the website to the gallery which first showed this material in Los Angeles. I wanted to buy them all but at £2,000 a pop, it was a little expensive for me. Still I haven’t checked my lottery numbers yet and if I do win a massive jackpot then I’m taking a taxi and purchasing some of these photos straight away. [Update: I’ve just checked my Saturday numbers and lost, so I’ll have to wait until Wednesday]

What I liked most about his colour photos was the fact that they seemed old, yet still vivid. There were some great large prints such as this one of his then wife Sandy and his dog at Big Sur in California (immortalised forever in Kerouac’s book of the same name). It’s brilliant in that it immortalises the 1960s with a love & peace hippy thing going on and in complete contrast a nasty, violent dog - more reminiscent of how Hunter viewed the times. The second photo is Hunter going fishing with guns, as one did in the sixties.

I loved this one below. It’s a shame that the internet can’t portray the real beauty of this photo on a small screen. Tijuana Street. The light is amazing and the pastel colours of those early 1960s American cars really stood out. If I could buy one then I think it would be this one. I don’t know why really, it just really stood out and I examined this one in detail and went back for a second look before I left. It just struck me and I can't explain why which is what all good art should do.

There were also some great photos of Hunter’s pals the Hell’s Angels. His first successful book was about his time spent with the Angels and there are very few photos of these guys, so it's interesting to finally put faces to people that previously we'd only read about.

There were many self-portraits, the one I used at the start of this blog post stood out for me. The one below that is the cover to the Rum Diaries, his first book which was rejected for publication at the time but was later released in the 1990s. It is perhaps my favourite Hunter S Thompson book.

All in all it was a great exhibition and one which you should all go and see if you are in London. It runs until the 10th March at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, just off Kings Road. The photos have been collected in a brilliant book entitled Gonzo which is available from Ammo Books for a cool $300. I want to buy it but will have to wait for the paperback (they probably never will release a cheap version for us plebs, but one can always wish for these things).

I also went to see the Harrods Rocks! guitar exhibition at the weekend. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

Mr Tambourine Man

1 comment:

Paolo Vites said...

terrific photos thanx

Check me out, if you dare