I collaborated with Kate Simon, the photographer behind the first Clash album cover and the Bob Marley “Kaya” cover, on this image of writer William S. Burroughs in celebration of what would be his 100th birthday on Feb. 5th. Burroughs is often associated with the Beat writers and collaborated with Jack Kerouac, but in his long career he produced an amazingly diverse body of writing. Burroughs was a true outsider and his voice was consistently provocative and evocative. As a drug user and explorer of the seedier side of things, Burroughs had a disdain for authority and the square life. I love his quote “how I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity”. I read Naked Lunch in high school, and I was fascinated by it, but I found it challenging. I have recently been reading Word Virus, a compilation of Burroughs’ writing, at Kate Simon’s recommendation. Word Virus is a great intro if you are unfamiliar with Burroughs. Kate also shot the cover image for the book. -Shepard
I was taken by William Burroughs’ presence and intelligence from the first time I was introduced to him, by: Lester Bangs in 1975. He was thrilling to listen to. When you heard him speak, you felt that you were privy to such a rare mind. Even in small-talk, he spoke with perfect economy of language. His shoots with me were very collaborative and it was an incredible opportunity to be able to photograph him over the course of twenty years.
18 x 24 inch screen print on Speckletone paper. Signed by Kate Simon and Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 450. $65 each. Purchase limit of 1 per person/household.
Release date: Thursday Februray 6. 2014 at a random time in PRINTS
Reference Photo by Kate Simon