Intimate Photos of Allen Ginsberg and Other Beat Fellows

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Gordon Ball spent 28 years taking candid photos of Beat legend Allen Ginsberg and his colorful circle of friends. The Howl scribe’s life is well documented in over one thousand images that Ball captured from 1969 — at Ginsberg’s Cherry Valley, New York farm that the photographer managed for a time — to the author’s funerals in New York City in 1997. Paging through Ball’s photos, you’ll find Beat fellows and other friends like Burroughs (in swimming trunks!), writer Herbert Huncke, poets Philip Whalen, Peter Orlovsky (also Ginsberg’s lifelong partner), Gregory Corso, and even Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Shots of Ginsberg’s Lower East Side apartment, his desk, and other personal belongings have also been intimately captured.

The counterculture poet’s aforementioned farm — which Ginsberg described as “a haven for comrades in distress” — has inspired a new book for Ball, East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg. “First described as an uninspiring, dilapidated four-bedroom house with acres of untended land, including the graves of its first residents, East Hill Farm became home to those who sought pastoral enlightenment in the presence of Ginsberg’s brilliance and generosity.” Pick up a copy of the book over here, and visit our gallery past the break where we share Ball’s deeply personal photographs of the literary legend.

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission [Spotted via WFMU]

“Allen studies his portrait by Mary Beach, Varsity Apartments, Naropa Institute, August 1984.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen, novelist William S. Burroughs, swimming pool area, Varsity Apartments, Boulder, Colorado, July 1976.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Allen Ginsberg’s Committee on Poetry, Inc. farm, Cherry Valley, New York Thanksgiving 1969. From left, standing: Julius Orlovsky, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gordon Ball, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley. Front, seated: Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Photographer Allen Ginsberg shoots rock star Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) reading from On the Road during marathon reading of the novel, New York University Beat conference, May 22, 1994.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Harmonium case of Allen Ginsberg, April 8, 1997, in his 13th Street loft.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Broken-legged from slipping on icy flagstone in front of farmhouse, Allen sings Blake. Cherry Valley, March 1973.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, on Avenue C near Ginsberg’s E. 10th Street apartment, New York City, fall 1973. Allen and I were working on Allen Verbatim then.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Portion of kitchen & hallway, Allen Ginsberg’s E. 12th Street apartment, November 1987, New York City. Principal photos, from left: Arthur Rimbaud, Chögyam Trungpa, Walt Whitman. Calligraphy by Trungpa.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Poets Philip Whalen (left) and Allen Ginsberg at Ball’s apartment, August 1971, San Francisco. Soon Allen would leave for Bangladesh, where he’d write ‘September on Jessore Road.'”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Herbert Huncke, Allen Ginsberg, near window of Ginsberg’s E. 12th Street apartment, New Year’s 1976.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Allen Ginsberg autographs his Collected Poems for Daisy Ball, whose cheek was scratched in roller skating fall May 31, 1986, Jackson, Mississippi.”

Copyright: Gordon Ball, Reprinted with permission

“Allen’s desk, as it was left at time of death (April 5, 1997), with Out of the Blue and father Louis Ginsberg’s Collected Poems. Shot April 8, 1997.”