San Francisco: Charles Gatewood's "Greatest Hits" exhibit

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One of my favorite living photographers, Charles Gatewood, has a "Greatest Hits" show of photos and new collages opening September 8 at San Francisco's Robert Tat Gallery. Charles is best known for documenting the sexual underground, from extreme fetishists to modern primitives. But over 45 years, Gatewood has been much more than the "family photographer of America's erotic underground." He took iconic shots of Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, and other Beats during his time shooting for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Harper's. In the early 1970s, he captured the high weirdness of Mardi Gras and took a marvelous collection of street photos on Wall Street, which he describes as "formal and forbidding, providing a visual metaphor for a more secretive perversion, high finance." That series won Gatewood the Leica medal of Excellence for Distinguished Humanistic Photojournalism. In 1972, Charles traveled to London to photograph William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin for Rolling Stone magazine. I have a photo from that trip hanging above my desk and it inspired me everyday.

This new photo exhibition is also a celebration of Burroughs 23, a limited edition, handmade artist's book of Gatewood's William Burroughs portraits. Naturally, the book is limited to just 23 signed and numbered copies.

"Charles Gatewood's Greatest Hits" runs until November 26. A reception and gallery talk with the artist will take place October 15 from 2 to 5pm.

Charles Gatewood's Greatest Hits (Robert Tat Gallery)