Under the theme of “Photography as you don’t know it,” the Pictures section in the Winter 2013 issue of Aperture magazine presents the work of ten photographers who have been overlooked and undervalued. The curators, historians, writers, and publishers who introduce these photographers give various reasons as to why they have been insufficiently acknowledged: geography, gender, illness, politics, debates about photographic style or representation, lack of self-promotional savvy, or simply fading from the limelight. Among these photographers is Ken Pate.
“For me his pictures still evoke a sharp pleasure, a feeling that is now mixed with a stab of intense nostalgia”—Carole Naggar, poet, photography historian, and painter
In 1975, American photographer Ken Pate was living in Paris, photographing ballet and theater to pay the bills. Then he met three blousons noirs—members of a rock ‘n’ roll and motorcycle-obsessed subculture—who agreed to let him photograph them. For several weeks Pate trailed the gang with a camera. The results were collected in Pate’s first and only book Roquette Rockers, put out by Paris book and magazine publisher Contrejour.
The Rockers in Pate’s photographs are decked out in studs and black leather, their hair slicked back as they straddle their motorcycles. Pate’s intimate photograph She said…, 1975, reveals a softer side of the blousons noirs. As Naggar writes, “The Rockers want to look tough, but their youth and naiveté shine through.”