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NYC’s post-Stonewall LGBTQ activism captured in vintage photos

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Fred McDarrah’s iconic photos are being republished in a new book titled Pride: Photographs after Stonewall

The fourth annual Gay Pride Day March as it passed along Seventh Avenue.
Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/OR Books

In 1994, photojournalist Fred W. McDarrah published the book Gay Pride: Photographs from Stonewall to Today, which would later go on to become a classic. As the first staff photographer for the now, sadly shuttered Village Voice, McDarrah was present in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when riots broke out following a police raid at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, which in turn led to the rise of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

When asked on the 25th anniversary of Stonewall why he took only 19 photos of the riots and demonstrations that followed in the immediate aftermath of the police raid, McDarrah responded “who knew?” according to a recent New York Times profile on the late photographer, and the launch of another book celebrating his work, Fred W. McDarrah: New York Scenes.

While he may not have captured as much as he wanted on the night of the first riots, McDarrah became one of the major chroniclers of the LGBTQ rights movement in subsequent years, particularly for the photos he captured from the first Pride marches that started as an annual tradition in 1970. Many of those photos were published in his book, in 1994. However, the book has since gone out of print, denying many the access to that rich compendium of the early days of the LGBTQ rights movement.

Two church leaders flank Quentin Crisp during the 1982 Gay Pride March; members of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah can be seen behind them.
Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/OR Books

Now, almost 25 years later, the independent publishing house OR Books has decided to resurrect McDarrah’s work. In May 2019, just a month before the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, OR will publish a reset and redesigned version of McDarrah’s original, now titled Pride: Photographs after Stonewall. The book features several photos that weren’t published in the first iteration of the book, and a new foreword by New Yorker critic Hilton Als, along with essays by Allen Ginsberg and Jill Johnston.

OR Books has also launched an accompanying Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness about the book, and will give some interested readers an early copy of the work, along with other goodies. Pride is officially set to debut May 7, 2019. Here’s a peek at some of McDarrah’s other photos from the book.

Youngsters outside the boarded up Stonewall Inn following the riots on the weekend of June 27, 1969.
Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/OR Books
Activist Larry Kramer photographed outside of his Fifth Avenue apartment in 1990.
Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/OR Books