The art director of Harpers said me, “There is this really beautiful girl who is writing about alternative culture and we want to do a feature on hippies.” “What’ I said ‘Hippies for Harpers” I was amazed that they would consider doing something that was so trendy. “Her name is Caroline Coon”, he continued “and she knows where it’s at”.
At that time there was a huge hippy ‘we are going to change the world’ vibe. I know because I was there in the midst of it all, through the clouds of marijuana we thought a new age was dawning. In a way it was, but we got too caught up in the joys of being baked and our good intentions got stoned away. It was the era of Hendrix and all the psychedelic San Francisco cult bands like Jefferson Airplane, Sgt Pepper era Beatles and peace, love, dove. All this was a reaction to Vietnam, where a whole generation went against the violence of war. A few years earlier Bob Dylan had written ‘Masters of War’ a track which totally blew my mind. Unfortunately we seem to be heading that way again with certain leaders attracted to the power of the gun.
I believe Caroline got a group of hippies together for the article. The day of the shoot arrived and in walked the DJ Jeff Dexter. Jeff arrived at the studio and brought along a few more beautiful hippies to be photographed. It was a kind of stoned afternoon where I loved taking their pictures. These are just some of the images.
Jeff Dexter was wearing a fantastic antique bright red jacket. Jeff was clued into all the latest sounds that were happening at the time and incredibly aware of all the latest music trends. It’s safe to say he was one of the first DJ superstars who has always maintained his interest in music. He was a true character of the late 60s and early 70s and Caroline did well to recruit him.
The girls arrived and they were beautiful but incredibly shy (see below). They didn’t really say very much, I just posed them on a raised platform. I shot them from below so they looked more monumental, like the new hippy gods.
A rock musician guy and his girlfriend came, I do not recall their names all I do know is that they epitomised the hippy style of that moment.
Caroline appeared intelligent, cool and very laid back. I wasn’t really part of the alternative society but I was trying to be. I was a bit over awed by it all.
Caroline has gone on and had an incredible career and is an accomplished painter and writer. You can read a great Guardian article about her here when she was interviewed in May 2018.