Obituary – Harold Chapman, Photographer

With sadness The OMC Gallery shares the news, that English photographer Harold Chapman has died on August 19, at the age of 95. Since 1999 we cooperated with Harold, became friends and presented his magnificent oeuvre at international art fairs and at our Gallery in Duesseldorf (Germany), later also in Huntington Beach, California and up to this day on our gallery website.

Harold Chapman has been a remarkable photographer, whose oeuvre documents many facets of people’s life, especially in Great Britain and France from the late 1940-s until today. He provided an endless stream of images, with one purpose described by him in an interview in December 1968: “…there is no need for the contrived shot. Pictures are everywhere. So why set up a photograph when the natural one is infinitely better?” He added: “I am photographing for the future, not for the present… All I aim for is to record the trivial things that ordinary people use and consider unimportant.”
In April 2000, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, Ian McEwan, who had met Harold Chapman in 1974, wrote an article about the photographer entitled ‘A Spy in the Name of Art’, which was published in the Saturday Review of the Guardian. Summing up Harold Chapman’s work, he concluded: “If Chapman were merely a chronicler in a great documentary tradition, his achievement would be impressive enough. His lustrous landscapes of the Herault valley in the Languedoc, his priceless record of the Beat Hotel, his omnivorous, year-on-year transcription of daily life and its little undercurrents, would ensure his reputation as a photographer of the first rank. But it was constructive paranoia that made him an artist.”

Rest in Peace, Harold.

Rolf Goellnitz and RoxAnn Madera

Find here more about Harold Chapman.

Good-bye United Kingdom

In the late 1950s the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan dramatically changed its attitude and appointed Edward Heath to submit an application and lead negotiations for Britain to enter the Common Market.

Britain joined the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) in 1961 and worked towards the reduction of trade restrictions between members. Britain was suspicious of the French Schumann plan to establish a supranational body regulating the production and sale of coal and steel.

The United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum was a public vote that took place on 5 June 1975, on whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Communities which was principally the European Economic Community (the Common Market) as it was known at the time.

The electorate expressed significant support for EC membership, with 67% in favor on a national turnout of 64%.

45 years later the UK is leaving the EU – for better or worse – time will tell.

The photograph above was taken by Harold Chapman, (*1927), a renown English photographer, whose work is reflecting life in the UK and France from the early 1950-s until today.

The woman looking outside the window, has obviously an opinion, firm enough to state it also publicly. While her wish came not true at the time(1975), it does now 45 years later, as the UK leaves the EU on January 31, 2020.

The Beat Generation is moving to the ZKM

”  The ZKM | Karlsruhe will be the second stage of the Beat Generation exhibition (Nov 26 – Apr 30, 2017) after the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In the last few years, the ZKM has dedicated a number of major exhibitions to the leading figures of the Beat Generation, such as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg (above right with Peter Orlovsky, Paris, Saint Germain, 1956 – Photo by Harold Chapman). In this new exhibition, an overview of the literary and artistic movement, which was created at the end of the 1940s, will now be provided for the first time. If “beatniks” were viewed back then as subversive rebels, they are now perceived as actors in one of the most important cultural directions of the 20th century.”


©Harold Chapman, William S. Burroughs in his room at the Beat Hotel ~1960

©Harold Chapman, William S. Burroughs in his room at the Beat Hotel, Paris ~1960




This exhibition is organized by the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in collaboration with ZKM | Center for Art and Media.


The OMC Gallery is proud to offer a very large selection of photographs (period and modern prints) by Harold Chapman (signed). If you’re interested in buying, contact us at

Interested in books about Harold Chapman’s “Beat Generation” oeuvre? Find here:

OUT OF PRINT – BEATS A PARIS, 132 pp.; HB black.w/blue; NEW! fine condition w/clean, tight pages. with Dust Cover NEW! fine condition. Title trans: “Beats in Paris: Paris and the Poets of the Beat Generation 1957-1963” Harold Chapman’s capture of Paris in the 50s/60s, including the ‘Beat Hotel’, in which icons of the Beat Generation, including Allen Ginsberg & William Burroughs got together. In German. B/W photos throughout. Comes with English translation as separate insert. Price $49 + shipping


Paris and the Poets of the Beat Generation 1957 - 1963

Harold Chapman – Paris and the Poets of the Beat Generation 1957 – 1963


The Beat Hotel by Harold Chapman

THE BEAT HOTEL by Harold Chapman – Out of Print – Paperback. Used copy in very good condition (Cover not at all as faded as image above), signed by Harold Chapman! Price: on request only. Please contact us at



Centre Pompidou – Celebrating the Beats

Harold Chapman, Self-Portrait in room of the Beat Hotel, Paris, late 1950s (courtesy of The OMC Gallery)

Check out what James Campbell has to say in The Guardian, about a new exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and a pivotal moment in cultural history: The time when  in the late 50s the Beat movement reached its high point, with Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs, Corso and Gysin sharing rooms in a rundown hotel near the Seine.

“It was at the Beat Hotel in 1959 that the dishevelled “routines” of William S Burroughs were shuffled into some kind of shape by Ginsberg, Sinclair Beiles and others – a random shape, according to Burroughs himself – before being brought to the proprietor of Olympia, Maurice Girodias. Four or five weeks later, Naked Lunch, with a now rare dust jacket designed by the author and many misprints committed by non-English-reading compositors (fortunately, given the content), was in the few shops willing to stock it. The cut-up technique, which Burroughs used to produce his next two novels, The Soft Machine and The Ticket That Exploded – also published by Olympia – was accidentally revealed to his regular collaborator Brion Gysin at the Beat Hotel. Gysin’s original cut-up weapon, a Stanley knife, is on display, as is Burroughs’s vintage Underwood typewriter and an adding machine of the kind refined by his grandfather, also William S Burroughs, which brought the family status and wealth at the end of the 19th century. It was in Paris that Ginsberg began writing “Kaddish”, his greatest poem, and it was from here that Gregory Corso sent the poems for his collection Gasoline to City Lights Books in San Francisco. “He’s probably the greatest poet in America”, Ginsberg wrote in a preface, “and he’s starving in Europe.” Starving at the Beat Hotel, to be precise, where Corso lived in a room almost too small to stand up in, as we see from one of the many photographs by the English photographer Harold Chapman.

James Campbell

Out of print item – Photo Documentary Book about the Beat Hotel by Harold Chapman

The Beat Hotel by Harold Chapman













Still available in German with an English text inlay: Harold Chapman – The Beats A Paris – Paris and the Poets of the Beat generation 1957 – 1963

Paris and the Poets of the Beat Generation 1957 - 1963

Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg ( Title Page from Paris and the Poets of the Beat Generation 1957 – 1963 )


My Best Shot – Harold Chapman

Interviewed by “The Guardian” Harold Chapman had this to say about one of his most famous photographs.


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