Why I Make Photographs
I started making photos at the age of 14, when my father let me use his Rolleiflex, and took me into his darkroom as his assistant. By the age of 15, I was shooting with a 35mm Contax IIIA, a rangefinder my father gave me. I put that camera over my shoulder, and rarely took it off. Growing up in the backyard of Stanford enabled me to get to The City (San Francisco), where we heard the Dead and the Airplane and mingled with the Diggers and the Mime Troupe in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park. I fell in love with the music and the scene it was rooted in, especially the community that we built from our dissent and defiance of what passed for normal. I photographed what grabbed me. And what grabbed me, I wanted to share. Photos made sharing possible.
The Human Be-In of January 1967 unfolded soon after I started college at UC Santa Cruz. The Monterey Pops Festival followed just eight months later. The Spring of 1968 was marked by antiwar mobilizations and the killing of Martin Luther King. Bobby Kennedy’s assassination followed in June. In August 1968, I hitched a ride to Chicago for the Democratic Convention, camera in hand. I thought I was taking snapshots that were simply postcards of historic events. But as people interacted with the photos, their comments revealed to me that my point-of-view added meaning to the events themselves. This was both surprising and satisfying. It meant I was shaping people's understanding of events, which was a heady experience.
I’ve been moved by the music and the spirit of dissent ever since. But it was during those years from 1965 to 1975 that I steadily photographed what moved me: people enthralled by the music, the musicians who created it, and all of us who challenged the government to end the war. The community of opposition became visible, I believe, through the music and the mayhem. I hope the spirit and sound of what I felt and heard are evident in these photos.
Exhibits and Publications
Upstart & Crow Bookstore, San Francisco first carried my prints for sale in 1967. The University of California at Santa Cruz exhibited my photos of the Democratic Convention of August 1968. My photographs have appeared in the following books: The Movement Toward a New America by Mitchell Goodman; Season of the Witch by David Talbot; Ten Years That Shook the City, edited by Chris Carlsson; and The War I Survived Was Vietnam, by Michael Uhl. In addition, my photographs have appeared in the following newspapers and journals: San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Express Times, Radical America, Overseas Weekly, Enlisted Times. In 2016, my photographs of The Committee Theater were included in a show at the California Historical Society about the Summer of Love. In 2017, my photographs of the Grateful Dead were included in the Dead documentary, "Long Strange Trip." In the same year, three of my photographs from the Human Be-In were turned into posters by artist Sue Haug, and exhibited in bus shelters in downtown San Francisco. In early 2018, my photo of Bobby Seale was included in an exhibit about 1968 at the Monroe Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.