Dennis Stock at Venice Beach Rock Festival

“My pictures of hippies are about the search for a better life. I was drawn by what they tried to achieve. The hippie instinct was countercultural. It said, ‘Let’s try to go back to basics.’’’

In the late 1960s, Dennis Stock travelled to California to document the ‘surreal cultural wave’ that was spreading from west to east across America. There he captured the attempts of Californian hippies to reshape society according to ideals of love and caring. In the summer of 1968, he was on stage at a free rock festival in Venice Beach, photographing the audience. As he was shooting, a young girl, who seemed to be high, climbed on stage and began to dance in front of the musicians. In very tight quarters, the girl danced and Stock shot. The instant was fleeting and accidental, but it became a symbol of the hippie times, a vivid high moment of the 1960s.

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