Photographer's Note

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is one of the most significant figures -- perhaps the most significant -- in 20th Century American literature. He wrote ground-breaking poetry, founded City Lights Bookstore, published the Beats, and stood trial with Allen Ginsberg over the publication of "Howl." He has continued to run City Lights to the present day.

He is shown here at age 81, at the City Lights Bookstore. His birthday is March 24, so this week, he has turned 94.

It is rather a miracle that I have this foto at all. I was visiting San Francisco and there was an event at City Lights. There was a HUGE crowd, such that they were not letting anyone else into the bookstore. There was a crowd about four-deep pressing against the windows to look inside.

I was able to get to the window with my early digital point-and-shoot, a 2MP Kodak. It is an autofocus camera, but I was able to place the lens squarely against the window glass and catch an unobstructed view of Mr. Ferlinghetti.

I am taken with presenting photographic portraits in monochrome, but the colors in this shot persuaded me to keep them -- especially the warm leather of his jacket and the books on the shelves in the background.

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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