Tuesday, January 21, 2014

University of Toronto's Allen Ginsberg Photography Collection

The University of Toronto announced today the receipt, thanks to a bequest by the Larry and Cookie Rossy Family Foundation, of 7,686 photographs and 236 silver gelatin prints (including many original snapshots and uniquely-inscribed prints), making them now home to, undoubtedly the world's largest collection of Allen Ginsberg photographs. 
The photographs span the years between 1944 and 1997 and comprise pretty much a complete collection of Allen's extraordinary picture-taking career. 
"This is an exciting and remarkable gift", declared U of T President Marc Gertler, "(a)..truly fascinating collection". Others went further, "This fabulous collection provides both scholars and students alike unique entree to Ginsberg's passionate eye and helps to confirm his status as a major 20th-Century American poet with the camera", declares photography and new media professor, Louis Kaplan - "One cannot overestimate its [the collection's] photo-historical, pedagogical and cultural value."

This Fall the two institutions will collaborate to present an exhibition of Ginsberg photos.

"selfie" style photo by Allen Ginsberg of his reflection in bathroom mirror
[Allen Ginsberg - 1985 Self-Portrait - part of the collection at the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library Allen Ginsberg Collection]


  1. What a fantastic resource!

    When were the Dylan photos taken?

  2. The Dylan photos were taken May 1990, around the NYC's East Village, Tompkins Park, and East River Park.

  3. The medium is the message indeed. For those who don't know, the U of T is a very cool school. It's also a very urban university woven into the fabric of downtown Toronto, and is where Marshall McLuhan taught for 30-something years and did all his writing and thinking. It's also where "Naked Lunch" director David Cronenberg learned his craft, and their little Varsity Stadium was home to the first Beatle solo concert when John Lennon was joined by Eric Clapton and others for Live Peace In Toronto. So ... it's a most righteous spot for Allen's shots. ;-)

  4. Did all his thinking,lol, are you certain?

  5. Well, if you wanna be nit-picky ... I was just sharing because perhaps people don't know that the U of T was the home of one of the world's leading media theorists, and by 1963 had built an entire Centre for Culture and Technology think tank around him. Toronto was his home for his entire adult life, and the U of T was the center of his academic "thinking" endeavors. And ... speaking of photos, there's a great famous picture of Marshall reclining in his very bohemian artist's studio at the U of T — with a giant picture of Allen hanging on the wall looking down over him. ;-)