Fred McDarrah was a staff photographer for New York's
Village Voice. For many years, his pictures chronicled the people and events of New York's flourishing
nightlife and activist communities.
Born in Brooklyn in 1926, McDarrah spent his young adulthood as an Army paratrooper, photographing the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II. He returned to New York and completed NYU's journalism program in 1954. Starting at the Voice in 1959, McDarrah set out to document the Village scene, capturing iconic images of burgeoning artists, musicians, performers and activists. He published his photos in a number of books over the course of his career.
In his introduction to The Artist's World in Pictures, Thomas B. Hess writes, "McDarrah does not claim his photographs are art. He claims they are a part of truth. ...And they have something to do with justice" (11). McDarrah cared little for the artistic merit of his photographs, applying a journalistic objectivity to his work at all times.
At his death in 2007, McDarrah was still consulting photo editor with the Voice.
Fox, Margarit. "Fred W. McDarrah, Photographer, Dies at 81." The New York Times, November 8, 2007.
McDarrah, Fred W. The Artist's World in Pictures. Introduction by Thomas B. Hess. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1961.