Why you should buy this month's Smithsonian -- Allen Ginsberg

Beat poet Allen Ginsberg was a photographer. I didn’t know that.

He had an eye for what makes an interesting picture.

Now you and I may scribble a note on the backs of our pictures about when we took them and who we see, but Ginsberg wrote detailed narratives – captions – on the bottom margin on the front. He married image to text, claiming rightly each picture has a story to tell.

Seventy-two of Ginsberg’s photographs are on display at the National Gallery of Art this summer. You can see some of them – with their caption stories – in the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine, or all of them in a book now out from gallery curator Sarah Greenough . . . and you’ll come away with a new appreciation of Ginsberg’s wit and wonder.

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