Jul 20, 2017

The Bad Boys of Boston

When you think of Boston, you think of Harvard, Boston Commons, the elegant shops and restaurants of the Back Bay, the gay bars and bathhouses on Tremont and Boylston.  Most traveler never get any farther west than the Museum of Fine Arts.

But there's another Boston: Jamaica Plain, out past Brookline,  Mattapan.  Hyde Park.  And "The Combat Zone," east of Washington and south of Boylston, near the Tufts Medical Center.  Neighborhoods of unmown lawns and broken windows, unemployment, poverty, and battling gangs, where kids grow up fast and tough, where fun, friends, work, and school are equally dangerous.


Several photographers have taken the train south and west to document these bad boys, their games and sports, their fights, their gay and heterosexual loves.

Here John Goodman (the photographer, not the actor) shows a carload of cute guys in the Combat Zone in th 1970s, driving with their Saturday night entertainment, a six pack of Schlitz beer.









Jules Aarons (1921-2008) spent his career investigating Boston street life.  Here two boys in the 1950s chat beside their car.
















A muscular South End boy in the 1970s offers his friend a light.

















Jerry Berndt (1943-2013) taught at the Art Institute and photographed Boston street boys from 1955 through 1985.  These smoking boys look like they're from the 1980s.










Jack Lueders-Booth (1935-) taught at Harvard and, in the 1980s, photographed the Neighborhoods of the Orange Line.  He found this father and son working on their car in Jamaica Plain.











 Sally Mann (1951-) specializes in images of decay and death, although she mad an exception for this very muscular Boston boy.

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