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Charles Gatewood photographs


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Charles Gatewood (1942-2016) was an American photographer, writer, and videographer, predominantly known for his photographs of Beat generation writers, American musicians and cultural icons, and alt- and countercultural figures and communities.

Gatewood was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1942. He attended University of Missouri in the 1960s and became interested in photography through the work of fellow student and photographer George W. Gardner. From 1964-1966, Gatewood lived in Stockholm, Sweden, where he apprenticed to a group of documentary photographers and worked as a darkroom technician for AB Text & Bilder news agency.

In 1966, Gatewood photographed Bob Dylan at a press conference and concert. One of Gatewood's photos from the event, "Dylan With Sunglasses and Cigarette," was syndicated soon after and published worldwide. The acclaim the photograph received inspired Gatewood to pursue a career in photography.

Gatewood returned to the U.S. in 1966 and worked briefly as an assistant at Jaffe-Smith photography studio in Greenwich Village, New York City, before beginning a freelance photography career. He took assignments at the

Manhattan Tribune, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Harper's, Business Week, Time, and other publications. His work throughout the 1960s and 1970s included numerous portrait photographs of celebrities, civil rights leaders, musicians, and writers.

In January 1972, Gatewood travelled to London on assignment with

Rolling Stone writer Robert Palmer to interview William S. Burroughs. During this visit, Gatewood took a series of iconic portraits of Burroughs and established a friendship with the Beat writer. Gatewood's first photography book, Sidetripping, was published to wide acclaim in 1975, and contained an introduction by Burroughs as well as excerpts from his novels. The book chronicled scenes of 1970's American alternative culture, and Gatewood's continued interest in the subject garnered him the title "the anthropologist of the forbidden."

Gatewood continued to document the American underground in photographs, writings, and film throughout the rest of his career, with a strong focus on fetishism, body modification, sexuality, social protest movements, biker culture, Mardi Gras, and nature. He was the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, and his work was exhibited widely from the 1960s through the 2000s. He lived and worked predominantly in San Francisco from 1987 until his death in 2016.

Charles Gatewood, Photographer of Extremes, Dies at 73 - The New York Times. Accessed December 18, 2020. William S. Burroughs, Charles Gatewood, and Sidetripping | RealityStudio. Accessed December 18, 2020. "The Portable-Infinite - Atom. Accessed December 18, 2020. You Gotta Put the Book On the Table | Art Practical. Accessed December 18, 2020.

The collection comprises Charles Gatewood's photographs of musician Bob Dylan, Beat writer William S. Burroughs, artist Brion Gysin, journalist Bob Palmer, sexologist Annie Sprinkle, and body modification and performance artist Fakir Musafar. The photographs are predominantly black-and-white, save one portrait of Burroughs that is hand-colored with Marshall oils. The photographs are arranged alphabetically by title.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC GRA 0099

Purchase, 2018.

Processed and encoded by Dustin Frohlich, October, 2020. Former collection number was PPI 0116.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2020 October 29
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

"Annie Sprinkle and Fakir", 1980.
Box 1 Folder F1
"Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Robert Palmer (in mirror)", 1972.
Box 1 Folder F1
"Dream Machine" , 1972.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

(2011 print)

"Dylan with Sunglasses and Cigarette", 1966.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

(2011 print)

"Portrait of William S. Burroughs" (3 copies) , 1972.
Box 1 Folder F1
"Portrait of William S. Burroughs" (colored with Marshall oils) , 1972.
Box 1 Folder F1
"William S. Burroughs and the Scientology E-meter" , 1972.
Box 1 Folder F1

Print, Suggest