In the vibrant and culturally rich era of the 1970s, Hollywood served as an epicenter of creativity and expression, attracting artists from all walks of life. Amidst this creative whirlwind, one name shone brightly: Roy Hankey, a gifted photographer whose lens captured the essence of this remarkable period. From 1974 to 1978, Hankey embarked on a photographic journey, documenting the raw energy and captivating personalities that graced the streets of Hollywood. This essay aims to explore the profound impact of Roy Hankey's work during this period, shedding light on his personal journey, artistic vision, and the legacy he left behind.
Roy Hankey was born on June 12, 1948, in a modest suburb of Los Angeles. From an early age, Hankey displayed an innate curiosity and a deep appreciation for the visual arts. His childhood was filled with moments of exploration, capturing the world around him through his father's old film camera. This early exposure to photography sparked his lifelong passion for capturing the world through his lens.
After completing his formal education in the early 1970s, Hankey set out to pursue his artistic aspirations in the heart of Hollywood. Drawn to the bohemian atmosphere and the diverse array of personalities that populated the area, he found himself immersed in a sea of creativity. Inspired by the works of legendary photographers such as Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon, Hankey sought to create a unique visual narrative that encapsulated the spirit of the era.
Hankey's work during this period was marked by a distinctive blend of gritty realism and romanticism. He skillfully captured the juxtaposition of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with the raw underbelly that lay beneath the surface. His photographs depicted the unfiltered truth, revealing the vulnerable and often overlooked aspects of the city and its inhabitants.
Hankey's photographic work from 1974 to 1978 in Hollywood left an indelible mark on the art world. His ability to capture the humanity and vulnerability of his subjects, combined with his technical proficiency, garnered critical acclaim and recognition. Hankey's photographs became emblematic of the era and continue to inspire a new generation of photographers.
Beyond his remarkable body of work, Roy Hankey's personal journey as an artist is equally compelling. His photographs reflect his own evolution as an individual, documenting not only the subjects he captured but also his own growth and understanding of the world. The photographs from this period serve as a testament to Hankey's unwavering commitment to his craft and his unwavering dedication to capturing the beauty in the ordinary.
Roy Hankey's photography from 1974 to 1978 stands as a testament to his artistic vision and his ability to capture the spirit of a transformative era in Hollywood. Through his lens, Hankey immortalized the iconic personalities, candid moments, and the vibrant energy that defined the 1970s. His work continues to resonate with audiences today, reminding us of the power of photography to transcend time and preserve the essence of a bygone era. Roy Hankey's legacy as a master photographer lives on, inspiring future generations to capture the world through their own unique lens.
Pic 1: Looking west on Sunset during sunset with the Hollywood Athletic Club and the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in the distance - 1976.
Pic 2: Looking east on Sunset towards the Palladium, TWA's offices, and CBS Columbia Square - 1976.
Pic 3: Looking east on Hollywood towards Las Palmas - ca. 1978.
Pic 4: The NW corner of Sunset and Highland (Hollywood High school is out of frame to the right) - 1976.
Pic 5: The 101 at the Gower/Beachwood exit - 1976.
Pic 6: Looking south on Vine from Yucca with ABC's Hollywood Palace (location of the Merv Griffin show) and The Broadway on the right and the Sunset Vine Tower down on the left (when it was an office building) - ca. 1974.
Pic 7: Selling oranges out of a car at Sunset and
Fountain - 1976.
Pic 8: Looking east on Hollywood towards Taft - 1976. Didn't realize that Pier 1 had been there for so long.
Pic 9: Odds & Ends for sale outside of the Vogue
Theater - 1974.
Pic 10: The Jack in the Box drive-thru - 1974.