Sunday, February 16, 2020

The times they were a-changin'

The late 1960s were a turbulent period in US history, to say the least - but as a result a great time to be a teenage wannabe documentary photographer trying to make a name for yourself. The title of David Fenton's 2008 exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York, Eye Of The Revolution, was well chosen: he and his camera were regularly in the thick of the action, on hand to capture anti-Vietnam protests, civil rights marches and the Black Panthers in action.

I came across Fenton via the extraordinary image on the cover of Johanna Fernandez's new book The Young Lords: A Radical History. Not only was I not previously aware of his work, I was also ignorant of the Young Lords, a Black Panther-inspired group of largely Puerto Rican left-wing activists based in New York whose name may not be widely known but whose legacy, Fernandez argues, is nevertheless significant.

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