Thursday, April 27, 2006

Crawford Barton: Photographs of San Francisco in the 70s.

Documenting the Golden Age
Born and raised in a fundamentalist community in rural Georgia, Crawford Barton moved to California in the 1960s to pursue his art and life as an openly gay man. By the early 70s he was established as a leading photographer of the “golden age of gay awakening” in San Francisco. He was as much a participant as a chronicler of this extraordinary time and place.

Family and Friends
Barton’s images document some of the first Gay Pride parades and protests, as well as his circle of friends and acquaintances, including his lover of 22 years, Larry Lara. Crawford described Larry as the “perfect specimen, as crazy and wonderful and spontaneous and free as Kerouac, so I’m never bored and never tired of looking at him.”

Reviews from the Critics
In 1974, the De Young Museum featured Barton's prints in a show entitled "New Photography, San Francisco and the Bay Area." His bold, unapologetic work was praised by The New York Times reviewer. Other critics labeled it “shocking” and “vulgar.”

Books and Publications
In addition to his fine art photography, Barton worked on assignment for The Advocate, and the Bay Area Reporter as well as The Examiner, Newsday, and the Los Angeles Times. A book of Barton's work, Beautiful Men, was published in 1976. Crawford Barton, Days of Hope was published posthumously in 1994 by Editions Aubrey Walter.

Crawford Barton’s Legacy
“I tried to serve as a chronicler… to feed back an image of a positive, likable lifestyle to offer pleasure as well as pride,” he explained. Mark Thompson, in his Forward to Days of Hope sums it up eloquently: “Crawford Barton leaves us a portrait of a seminal time, burnished with the fine polish of his sensitivity an instinct for wonder never relinquished.”

See more of Crawford Barton's vintage photography at

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