“It was my fate to be aligned with the Beats because of my propensity for drugs, anger, and poetry.” From “The Beats” by Larry Fink.
In 1958, at the age of eighteen, the photographer Larry Fink left his childhood home on Long Island and moved to a one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village. Fink was immediately drawn to New York’s counterculture, and he soon met a group of artists, writers, and musicians affiliated with a late stage of the Beat Movement. This group of what Fink calls “delusionary revolutionaries” included the painter and writer Lawrence “Turk” Le Clair and the poets Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Robert Cordier. Though he shared the hedonistic propensities of these artists, Fink never felt welcome among them, a distance he attributes, in large part, to his Marxism. He has written, however, that the group “desperately needed a photographer to be with them, to give them gravity, to live within them, record and encode their wary but benighted existence.” Fink readily assumed the role. Not long after he arrived in New York, he travelled with the group on a cross-country trip to Houston and Mexico. “Marxism notwithstanding, I was called to service, to be on the road.”