Harold Chapman

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For other people named Harold Chapman, see Harold Chapman (disambiguation).

Harold Stephen Chapman (born 26 March 1927 in Deal[1]) is a photographer noted for chronicling the 1950s in Paris.

He has produced a large body of work over many years, with his most significant period from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, when he lived in a backstreet Left Bank guesthouse in Paris later nicknamed (by Verta Kali Smart) ‘the Beat Hotel’. There he chronicled in detail the life and times of his fellow residents – among them Allen Ginsberg[1] and his lover Peter Orlovsky, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Sinclair Beiles, Brion Gysin, Harold Norse, and other great names of Beat Generation poetry and art. When the Beat Hotel closed its doors in 1964, Chapman was the last guest to leave. The collection of photographs he had taken there provide an artistic and historic record, and became the mainstay of his reputation.

His other works attract worldwide attention, and include portraits, landscapes, bizarre objets trouvés and, especially, distinctive enigmatic street scenes (often involving incongruous background advertising) that combine his two characteristic emotions: pervasive moody anxiety and quirky wit.

Recent exhibitions[edit]

  • 2008-2009 Brion Gysin : Calligraffiti of Fire
11 December 2008 – 7 February 2009 at The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London, England
Featuring the first UK showing of Gysin's rarely seen painting, the 16.4-metre (54 ft) long Calligraffiti of Fire, with photographs of Gysin by Harold Chapman
  • 2008 International Contemporary Photography
26 January - 23 February 2008 at The OMC Gallery for Contemporary Art, 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, California, USA
  • 2007 Harold Chapman 80th birthday celebration
Friday 29 June to Thursday 12 July 2007: The Royal Hotel, Deal
This exhibition in Chapman's home town showed some of his most famous works.
  • 2007 Harold Chapman – Photographer: A Retrospective 1947-2007
23 March - 24 April 2007: The OMC Gallery for Contemporary Art, 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, California
  • 2007/2008 Harold Chapman at 80 - An online retrospective
A Gallery exhibition of Chapman's work for the Top Foto agency, at Harold Chapman Gallery


  • Beats à Paris (Michael Kellner, Hamburg and OMC Communication GmbH, Düsseldorf 2001) – by Harold Chapman
  • The Beat Hotel (Editeur banal gris, 1984) – by Harold Chapman, foreword by William Burroughs, foreword by Brion Gysin
  • Everyman’s France (J.M.Dent, 1982) – by Maxine Feifer (Author), Harold Chapman (Photographer)
  • Vanishing France (Quadrangle, New York, 1975) – John Hess, Harold Chapman


  1. ^ a b Barnett, Laura (4 August 2010). "Harold Chapman's best shot". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 

External links[edit]