Allen Frame moved to New York in 1977 and began to photograph friends from his college days and others he was meeting. By 1981, he had a circle of artist friends that he photographed in his apartment, their studios, on beaches, and on the streets of New York, including artists who became well-known later, such as Darrel Ellis, Nan Goldin, Frank Moore, Cady Noland, and Robert Gober.
Though Frame had previously worked mostly in black and white, in 1981, he photographed extensively with color. In an article on this work in the Winter 2021 issue of Aperture, Brendan Embser writes:
“He used available light, gentle ochres and greens, the faint shade of blue when sky is indistinguishable from water. He composed his frames with beguiling precision, with just-off symmetry and split-screen scenes demarcated by paintings or doorjambs.”
At the end of the book, Frame interviews eight of the artists who are still living about that period in New York. As he notes in his essay,
“Many of the men in these pictures died of AIDS: Bill, Charlie, Darrel, Dan, Coco, John West, Frank Moore, Tom Reeder, Bob Applegarth. It is heartbreaking to contemplate them. We were full of joy and hopefulness about our lives, about what we would accomplish creatively, about our close-knit relationships. For all of us, finding like-minded friends and lovers in a city with so many possibilities like New York was something we had yearned for. In 1981, AIDS had not yet entered our lives directly, though we had read the first reports of its appearance. Within a few years, we were all part of its devastation.”
Allen Frame has been a teacher of photography in New York for almost 30 years. He has also been the curator of numerous exhibitions, including recently, “The Photographs of Charles Henri Ford” at Mitchell Algus Gallery, and a retrospective of the work of Darrel Ellis in 1996, an artist friend depicted in Fever, whose work is currently experiencing a posthumous success.
The introduction to Fever is by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator at the Brooklyn Museum. The book is published in an edition of 500 copies, 152 pages, 50 color photographs and ephemera. A deluxe edition of 25 copies priced at $200 each includes a 4x6 digital chromogenic print of the photograph Bob, George, Bill, Charlie, and Zamba at Jones Beach signed and hand numbered by the artist. - MATTE