Friday, September 23, 2011


Housecleaning unearthed a whole trove of photographs I took for real, live assignments while I was still at university (we creative pros always start young.) This 1971 print eventually illustrated a satirical piece on West, the "lifestyle" magazine of the Los Angeles Times from 1967-72 and its assorted provincial ilk. People-wrangling courtesy of yours truly; yes, at one point I knew all these folks, attrition and relocations winnowing it all down to but a handful today.

It was shot at then new-ish Marina Del Rey in coastal west Los Angeles, easily accessible to us students of Westwood's UCLA. Within this mass of oh! the humanity, there's a biker/attorney, a Confederate scuba-diver, a roller-skating, southpaw guitarist (my roommate and fellow art school student,) a future Century City litigator, his trendy girlfriend with an antique press camera, assorted sports implements, the biggest sombrero anyone had ever seen, and an actual child. Yeah, and someone in swimfins holding a chicken.

Someone pointed out that this represents an awful lot of people for a little sailboat, that we were lucky not to capsize it, and that the modern parlance for our nautical flash mob now would be called a "takeover." And now for something completely different, as our fixation with the then spankin' new Monty Python's Flying Circus would have dictated quoting...

The academician in her laboratory below was Dr. Thelma Moss, Psychology Professor and head of the Parapsychology lab/clinic at UCLA (yes, such went the '60s and early '70s) with the unseen interviewer at left most likely the writer Don Strachan (Feb. 12, 1942 - Oct. 14, 2011) contradictorily dressed in "straight" mufti and waist-length blond ponytail. He was a fulltime alternative press journalist, author, bon vivant and hippie raconteur extraordinaire (many of his stories remain unprintable unfortunately for Fastfilm readers, as there's much drug content.) My photograph probably graced either the Los Angeles Free Press or its spin-off The Staff (such bisections also were symptomatic of the '60s and early '70s.)

Dr. Thelma Moss, former screenwriter (this was L.A.) and onetime participant in LSD therapy pioneered the era's serious studies of Kirlian photography, a voltage-induced corona effect of living things or any solid matter in photographs likened to "auras," a popular '60s obsession. Also much enamored of Kirlian photography over the ages were: David Bowie, the scientist whom Bowie later portrayed in the film "The Prestige" Nikola Tesla himself, the Journal of Applied Physics and even the modern IEEE, as the process itself was precursor to xerography.
Kirlian fingerprints of either Don's or mine

I did and do consider the shot below a very good, sober, professional photojournalism in situ portrait for me, considering it emanated from my early 1970s' far crazier self.

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