GOSSAGE, John. LAMF. Three Days in Berlin. [Washington D.C.]: [Self-published], 1987. EDITION OF 100



LAMF. Three Days in Berlin.
[Washington D.C.]: [Self-published], 1987.

8vo (220 × 170 mm), pp.[8], 28 gelatin silver prints tipped on to archival mounts, each numbered with a red or black ink stamp. Blue cloth-covered boards, upper side titled in gilt. Original dust-jacket made from a contemporary Berlin newspaper, title stamped in black ink to upper panel. Title stamped in black ink to title-page, brown paper title and ticket tipped in. Signed and numbered. Fine.

First edition, one of 100 copies, each containing a different selection of between 25 and 30 photographs chosen from the complete series of around 100 images. In 1982 Gossage was invited to exhibit and give a workshop at the Werksatt für Fotgrafie in Kreuzberg, Berlin which had been founded in 1976 by Michael Schmidt. In the early 1980s Schmidt invited a number of American photographers such as Lewis Baltz, William Eggleston and Gossage to exhibit and teach workshops. These cultural exchanges greatly informed the work of all who took part. Gossage made many subsequent visits, and it was here in Berlin, where the past was manifestly visible, that he began making photographs that would inform all of his subsequent work.

The photographs in LAMF were taken using a telephoto lens and surveillance film and the title of the series relates to Gossage’s memory of a graffiti warning he often saw whilst growing up in New York City in the 1950s and ‘60s. LAMF (Like a Mother Fucker) was an acronym used by street gangs to mark their territory. Though when Gossage saw the same letters on walls in Berlin it seems more likely that they were written in homage to Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers’ 1977 album of the same name.


6 copies located in OCLC: Art Institute of Chicago; University of Arizona; Getty Research Institute; Los Angeles City Museum of Art; George Eastman House, New York; Rochester Institute of Technology.


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