Eye of the Revolution
Rebellions against authority – government, parents, elders, and everything else were ubiquitous in the 1960’s. David Fenton, a teenager at this time, was an underground news photographer. He photographed the anti-war protests, civil rights rallies, and concerts. Now, forty years later, in the Steven Kasher Gallery on 23rd St., these photographs are displayed in an exhibit called “Eye of the Revolution”. I found it interesting to see pictures from this time, when my parents were growing up, and to compare what they have told me to what I see in actual photographs from the period.
In one picture, I was able to sense the extreme passion some of the young people had for the protest against the war in Vietnam. The photo was captioned, Central Park Peace March, April 5, 1969. This photograph shows a cop standing in the midst of a crowd of people at a rally. One of the protestors is disguised in a pig mask and is standing behind the oblivious cop. He is also giving the finger to the police officer. This graphically portrays the lack of respect for authority that young people had during the anti-war demonstrations. It was very different to see this in a photograph taken at the time, rather than to read about this in my history textbook.
Another remarkable image was titled, David Peel and the Lower East Side- Central Park, NYC 1969. When I saw this photograph I thought that it captured the essence of what the ‘60’s music and culture was all about. In this photo, the singers all have long hair, and open shirts. Some of them even have the large framed glasses common at the time. This photo encapsulated everything that I imagined about the hippie culture – guitars, long hair, and flowery jewelry.
I find it interesting that what my parents consider to be recent history seems to me as no different than learning about the flappers of the 1920’s. These photographs opened my eyes to the reality of the time period and some of the events that were taking place.