In A Time of Youth Gedney presents the intertwined lives of young friends and lovers. We can see the intensity of these relationships in singular gazes, gestures, and embraces, both on the streets of San Francisco and in makeshift shared beds on apartment floors. Within these improvised spaces, swagger and self-consciousness are rendered visible through Gedney’s tight framing and sympathetic eyes. He made all the photographs in A Time of Youth between 1966 and 1967 while living for several months with the communities he photographed. Gedney was able to undertake a project of this length only through the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship that he received in 1966.
- Lisa McCarty
Assistant Professor of Photography, Southern Methodist University
Curator, Archive of Documentary Arts, Duke University (2014 – 2019)
Fifty years after its original conception, A Time of Youth has finally made its appearance in print. Published by Duke University Press in conjunction with the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the book brings together eighty-seven of the more than two thousand photographs Gedney took in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood between October 1966 and January 1967, along with pages from his personal notebooks which, together, present a vivid portrait of Gedney’s creative process and social reflections.
The William Gedney Photographs and Papers Archive is curated and maintained by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University. The collection comprises the entirety of William Gedney's photographic career, beginning with his student years at Pratt Institute in the 1950s to his early death in 1989. The materials reveal Gedney's intense and meticulous dedication to his work, and his interest in street photography, portraiture, night photography, and the study of human nature.