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Roswell Angier

BIOGRAPHY

Roswell Angier (b. 1940) is well known for his work in Boston’s strip clubs and burlesque houses in the early 1970s and his acclaimed book on the subject: “A Kind of Life.”: Conversations in the Combat Zone (Addison House, 1976). Angier spent two and half years (1973-1975) photographing the Combat Zone, a name given to the area around Washington Street in Boston by Shore Patrolmen in the 1950s, who prowled the rock-and-roll bars and bust the heads of sailors. In the 1970s, the sailors and rock-and-roll bars were replaced by strip clubs. Angier was interested in the complexity of the people of the “adult entertainment” community; he became acquainted with many of the strippers and showgirls who allowed him to photograph them.  Angier’s pictures of these people suggest that “…there is a lot which they never reveal on stage, or in their breezy conversations in the dark shadows of the clubs; qualities of grace, wit, resilience, and singleness of heart.”

From 1978-1982, Angier continued his social documentary work, exploring the Native American communities of New Mexico and Arizona. Having driven through the area numerous times, and influenced by Robert Frank’s image of an Indian bar on Highway 66 in Gallup, N.M., Angier began photographing the towns surrounding the Navajo reservation.  Angier’s images depict a people trying to persevere in the midst of a community gripped by increasing marginalization and debilitating alcoholism.