Fred W. McDarrah

Born in Brooklyn, Frederick William McDarrah bought his first camera at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. After leaving Boys High, he served as a U.S. Army paratrooper in Occupied Japan at the end of World War II, camera usually in hand. He earned a Journalism degree from New York University on the G.I. Bill.

He began to photograph the artists, writers, musicians, and actors who frequented the bars and coffee houses, art galleries and cafes in Greenwich Village not because he was assigned to, but because he wanted to document what he called, “The most colorful community of interesting people, fascinating places, and dynamic ideas.”

When a neighbor told Fred he was starting a newspaper, to be called The Village Voice, McDarrah signed on. He was associated with the paper for the rest of his life. He was for decades the paper’s only staff photographer and its first picture editor.

The work of Fred W. McDarrah has been exhibited at hundreds of galleries and museums around the city, nation, and world: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Albright – Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; Tibor de Nagy, New York; Pace, New York; and is in numerous private and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, Washington; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Among other honors he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Press Page One award.

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