PHOTOS: A candid view from the front lines of the gay liberation movement in 1970s Los Angeles

Graham Gremore

“I decided to shoot The Gay Essay for a variety of reasons,” Los Angeles-based photographer Anthony Friedkin tells Queerty in an exclusive interview. “I wanted to photograph gay people who were living an open gay life and where proud of it. It’s my personal belief that all human beings are unique when it comes to their sexual identity, as unique as our finger prints are.”

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Fiedkin’s exhibition titled The Gay Essay will be on display at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, a contemporary art gallery in New York City, February 12 through March 4. The exhibition will feature a total of 70 photographs documenting the gay liberation movement in Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1969 to 1973.

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“When I look back on the pictures, I’m reminded of all the reasons why I became a photographer in the first place,” he adds. “Portraits are pillars in the history of photography. It’s my hope that when people engage with these photographs they will  remember how courageous many of the LGBTQ people were who allowed me to photograph and document their lives.”

Scroll down to see a sampling from The Gay Essay

All-Male Film Festival, Hollywood, 1972
Left: Bobbie and Linda, Venice, 1970, Right: Couple Kissing, Restroom, Trouper’s Hall, Hollywood, 1970
Couple in Front of Church, Los Angeles, 1970
Drag Queens at the Mirror, Long Beach, 1971
Left: Couple, Los Angeles, 1970, Right: The Spree Float, Gay Liberation Parade, Hollywood, 1972
Drag Queen in Mirror, Long Beach, 1971
Hustlers in Drag, Hollywood, 1971
Left: Divine, The Palace Theater, San Francisco, 1972, Right: Jim and Valerie, Trouper’s Hall, Hollywood, 1970

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