Photographer Graham Keen, who lived in Battle, East Sussex, was also present at many of the key cultural and artistic happenings of 1960s documenting these to create what has become a fascinating record of the times.
Significantly Keen, was involved with the revolutionary counter culture newspaper “International Times”(IT),which was published for the first time in 1966.
He contributed photographs and was later to be art director for issues 29-70. When the magazine was raided by police, Keen and three other directors were sent for trial, and found guilty of Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals. Keen went on to found “Cyclops Magazine”
One series of photographs that Keen took were the documentation of the first London exhibition of the experimental artist Yoko Ono, who showed at Indica Gallery in November 1966.
Keen’s rare photographs of Ono’s Ceiling work as well as her Film No. 4, (aka Bottoms), made with her husband at the time, Anthony Cox, are unique records of her early works. The exhibition was sponsored by the art dealer Robert (Groovy Bob) Fraser and visited by John Lennon, who fell in love with Yoko Ono, leading to their subsequent marriage In May of 1966.
Keen was one of two photographers to capture Muhammad Ali meeting Michael X, then British Black Power leader, in London, together with Herbert Muhammad on their visit to the site of the Central London Mosque in Regents Park. These photographs which will be seen for the first time, were discovered recently during research into Keen’s archive, and are an extraordinary record of one of Muhammad Ali’s rare visits to London.
Working for Peace News for most of 1960s, Keen covered the CND and CCND marches andAnti-Vietnam War protests. He also went to Cambodia with Peace News group aiming to visit North Vietnam in a gesture of solidarity.
Another set of unseen images captured by Keen shows leaders of a CND march in May 1965, that included Marc Bolan (then under the name of Mark Field) together with Joan Baez, Donovan, Tom Paxton and Vanessa Redgrave. Other pop protesters pictured in Trafalgar Square included Julie Felix, Paul Jones and Diana Rigg.
Keen’s archive also includes many 1960s poets and artists such as Allen Ginsberg, the writer William Burroughs with whom he would collaborate on the graphic Comic Strip Paper “Cyclops”, Giacometti, Francis Bacon, Pink Floyd and Jasper Johns and early photographs of Pink Floyd light shows.
An ardent jazz fan, Keen also photographed Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins and the Basie Band.