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Another Turn for Dennis Stock’s California Trip

The year 1968 is remembered as one of the most stormy dates in American history. Within 12 months the country experienced the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Opposition to the Vietnam War escalated and student activism resulted in violence on several campuses. As movements related to civil rights, political rights and youth culture exploded, a spirit of rebellion swept the country.

In the midst of the daily turmoil, American photographer Dennis Stock traversed California, photographing the men and women, familiarly known as hippies, who embodied the anti-establishment phenomenon of the time. The images Stock made during this five-week road trip were compiled in California Trip (Penguin Books), which would become a cult classic. “Originally published in 1970, the book became an emblem of the free love movement that continued to inspire people throughout the decades,” states the press release from Anthology Editions, the publishing house behind the first reprinting of California Trip in 49 years.

Though the first edition remains a coveted item for book collectors, the September 2019 reissue will once again make the book available to a wide audience. 

In the preface, Stock admits that for a time California and its “contrasting arenas of life,” frightened him. The trip he made in 1968 dramatically changed the way he looked at the state. He writes, “Technological and spiritual quests vibrate” throughout California, adding, the “pursuit of the best of all possible worlds” will be searched for there, “our future is being determined by a lab out West.”

Stock’s career as a Magnum photographer was defined by his work with major cultural figures. Just as his famous portrait of James Dean introduced America to the “icon of a generation, his photos of the free spirits and landscapes of California capture the essence of a place where everything seemed possible,” says Anthology Editions.

California Trip
Dennis Stock
Anthology Editions (September 2019)

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