In 2002, Beat and counterculture photographer Larry Keenan asked me to build a website to document forty years of his Beat Generation and counterculture photography. Working with him and learning about his vast archive of photos was a treat. After Larry’s death in 2012, the site remained online, although mostly unmaintained.
Last week, the site relaunched in mobile-friendly format. Out of respect to Larry, the the colors and layout remain the same as they were when he carefully chose them seventeen years ago.
The site is organized chronologically into topical galleries. Each photo is accompanied by Larry’s story about it.
And what stories he had! There are photos here of the Beats: Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Carolyn Cassady, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lenore Kandel, David Amram. You’ll also find Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, San Francisco rock bands, City Lights Books, and a great number of music and countercultural events (the Human Be-In, protests, Monterey Pop, etc.), from the 1960s and beyond.
And, Bob Dylan! The Dylan photos remain some of the site’s most popular: Larry photographed him in 1965 at City Lights with Ginsberg, McClure, Robbie Robertson, and the Orlovsky brothers — and in concert in Berkeley.
These are some of the most iconic photographs of the time and many have been reproduced over and over, in books about the Beats, the 1960s, and Bob Dylan.
Larry documented the Bay Area literary and countercultural communities beginning in 1964, and the site covers forty years of photos, through 2004. You can see them at emptymirrorbooks.com/keenan.