“Dean took out other pictures. I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered, established-within-the-photo lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless nightmare road. All of it inside endless and beginningless emptiness. Pitiful forms of ignorance.” Jack Kerouac
I don’t really know most of the people in these photos yet somehow they are familiar to me like yesterday’s dream I only partially remember if at all. These are stolen moments from a past life on the road, driving, walking, searching America for some sense of truth and for myself, the self I never really found.
So, in the end I figured out there is no truth, at least not one truth. There are punks, hippies, ravers, activists, hardcore kids, stage divers, emo kids and the just plain confused, like me.
I made the earliest of the images in this series not long after the L.A. Riots in 1992. Police had beat a man named Rodney King and someone had video taped it. Remember? Does anyone remember?
Later that year, on July 4th, I met some punk kids while walking down a sidewalk in Venice Beach. One of them was hanging upside down out of the window of an apartment. We made small talk. I was invited up to make some photos. Then they invited me to a Punk Party in Venice. Later that night I went to a party in Hollywood Hills.
On another excursion I took pictures of a Rave in Southern California. Then I snuck a camera into a rock concert. Two years later I photographed and hung out at a commune in Kansas City. And one day, with my camera, I walked into a clothing store in Indianapolis where cool Midwestern kids were buying and wearing the same sort of clothes I was made fun of for wearing at my junior high school during the late 80s. Two years earlier I photographed a stage diver in San Jose.
So what happened to all these people? Are they still punks, hippies, ravers, grunge kids?
Are they still angry? Are they peaceful? Are they cool? Who are they now?
Over the years having a camera was a way for me to meet a lot of people I didn’t know. However, this is my generation in these photos and perhaps yours too.