John Penley Photographs Collection now on Flickr!
The collection came to Tamiment last year from John Penley, a photographer and grassroots political activist associated with the squatters’ rights movement and housing protests of the 1980s and 1990s in New York City’s East Village and Lower East Side. He began photographing as part of an effort to document the demonstrations, protests, and other political actions in which he took part, and in the process became a photo-journalist. Hundreds of Penley’s photographs have appeared in publications including the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the New York Times, New York and Long Island Newsday, New York Magazine, The Villager, High Times Magazine, The Guardian, Art In America, WW 3 Illustrated, The Shadow, the East Village Eye, and many small political publications. They have also been distributed through press services such as United Press International and the Associated Press.
Beginning in the mid-1990s he spent a decade covering the New York’s Lower East Side as a beat photographer for the New York Times, documenting protests and gentrification in the neighborhood. The thousands of images in his collection also record protests by AIDS activists, as well as artist and writer residents of the Lower East Side such as Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, Keith Haring, and Karen Finley. Other notables for whom there are images in the collection include Martin Sheen, Philip Berrigan, Timothy Leary, and Ramsey Clark. Penley also documented his travels to Mexico and to Nicaragua (the latter during the conflict between the Sandinista government and the “contras”) during the 1980s.
Please note that these images are provided for reference purposes only. Mr. Penley currently owns the copyright to the images, which will eventually be transferred to New York University.
While you’re there, check out the rest of Tamiment’s Flickr exhibits. There’s a lot of great material online from the Communist Party of the USA, Anarchist organizations, Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and even the history of the Tamiment Library itself.