Far out!

[Photography by Bernard Plossu]

San Francisco & Big Sur, Summer 1966. I had never been to the US before. I was twenty-one years old, and came by road from Mexico, crossing an endless northern Mexican desert, Texas and Los Angeles in a jalopy. My American friend was bringing me to San Francisco and Big Sur. It was the summer of 1966 in northern California: The end of the beat generation and the beginning of the hippie movement. I had no idea sheer luck would take me to where everything was happening, one year before the summer of love. I was living at Patty’s in a purple basement with two pythons and the best grass. Haight-Ashbury was effervescent. The big highways of southern California suddenly metamorphosed into Coast Highway 1 eventually leading to the Big Sur region, the most beautiful place imaginable, wild, blurred by mist, hills where lived detached individuals who elected to say no, no to the war in Vietnam, no to consumerism, the first environmentalists. Photos of everyday life, taken with a 50mm, a 28 too, some black and white, friends. We went to the Big Sur Folk Festival to listen to the Baez sisters—Joan, Pauline and Mimi Farina. All of this was just a continuation of Whitman and Thoreau’s writings, Huxley’s too, and Krishnamurti and Ramana Mahrashi. We read poems, famous ones by Ginsberg, less famous ones by Corso and Kaufman, and we read zen thinkers like Watts and Snyder.

Haight Ashbury 1966 (8)