The West Coast 60s Scene

Do you remember the Caffe Mediterraneum?

How about Country Joe and The Fish?

If so, maybe you were part of the West Coast 60s scene in the San Francisco Bay Area and you’ll appreciate this black and white travel back in time courtesy of The Leica Camera blog.

In the mid-60s Nacio Brown, who was part of the underground scene, was photographing street life and protest movement and over time was widely published in many publications and books. (That’s just one of his excellent images on the right.)

According to the blog, in 1969 Brown was engaged in a four-year-one-block street photography projected that resulted in a book, Rag Theatre. Called brilliant and compelling a much expanded version is available online here: Rag Theatre.

Brown is still active and even has a Facebook page.

Compelling reading and photography Brown ended up shooting with Leica M4 bodies and a bunch of fast Leica lenses. The M4 was the camera of choice for street photographers as it was smaller, silent and because of its rangefinder focusing method allowed photographers to capture sharp well framed images in low light situations.

Leica still sells digital cameras with rangefinder focusing at an astonishing $9,000. Having said that the M4 was well over $1,000 when I bought mine in the mid-70s and DSLRs could be had for a couple of hundred bucks.

Nacio Brown’s images sure bring the 60s to life. This is street photography at its best.

 

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