The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
Apr 2016 back issue
Whats Going On?
by Ken Light
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
“For another thick, juicy slice of the real, pick up Ken Light’s What’s Going On? 1969-1974 a collection of the photojournalist’s earliest work, documenting the riled- up politicized counterculture in which he came of age……His books - with endpapers that reproduce letters from his FBI surveillance files-starts out looking like a student radicals Joe Szabo’s Teenage and ends up with a sequence of furiously engaged reportage that recalls Danny Lyon and Larry Fink.“ Vince Aletti- Photograph, January 2016 Ken Light’s monograph of his earliest photos from 1969 to 1974 document the social landscape of America as it roiled with upheaval. He began as a participant in the youth movement and then became an observer of the entire spectrum of the
cultural and political wars in America. Light criss-crossed the country with youthful passion and a yearning to explain his country to himself, asking, “What’s going on?”   Along the way, his frontline photos documented people across race, class and political lines. The resulting portrait is more than a flashback. It is a unique and important historical record that counteracts the truncated memory of the sixties that has been inserted into our psyche by both editorial and commercial media.   His journey through America opens with teenagers at the beach with their transistor radio lying next to them. We see the quiet before the storm: high school students with their Eisenhower textbook, retired people playing cards and cafeteria workers quietly striking. We feel the pent up tension with no outlet. And then, suddenly the new, alternative worldview bursts forth. We follow this rupture, the Vietnam Moratorium, Republican Convention, riots, POW’s coming home, until the end of the era when Nixon resigns.   What’s Going On? shows the gritty, down home truth of the working class trying to keep a toehold on the American Dream as wages began to stagnate, and unions weakened. It shows how college students, informed by the media about government policies in Vietnam became disillusioned and then empowered to protest. And, the book shows how divided the United States was politically as the new, more egalitarian world order was foisted upon it.
Boy Scout.
Portrait of Ken Light, 1972 Republican National Convention, Miami Photo:: Neil Benson
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Cafateria workers on strike, Athens, Ohio.
Somersault, West Oakland, California.
Vietnam Moratorium, Washington, D.C.
Protest, Washington, D.C.
May Day demonstration, Washington, D.C.
National Guard, Cambodian invasion riot, Columbus, Ohio, April 30, 1970.
Throwing back tear gas, Cambodian invasion riot, Columbus, Ohio.
“No Amnesty,” President Nixon campaigning, Ohio.
Beatles. On the road, Europe.
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