Posts by Lloyd Kahn (239)

Black-and-White Photos of '60s Back-to-Land Communes in New Mexico

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No one captured the spirit and essence of the ’60s southwest American communes better than Irwin Klein. With a Leica, black and white film, and natural lighting, he created an authentic and artistic record of this unique and short-lived period of back-to-the-land ’60s idealism.

Poet Gary Snyder, in Earth House Hold, described the ’60s communards: “Men, women and children — all of whom together hoped to follow the timeless path of love and wisdom, in affectionate company with sky, wind, clouds, trees, waters, animals, and grasses — this is the drive.”

In this newly-published book, you can see the optimism, the earnestness, and yes, the impracticalities of these young, mostly urban people who left the cities for the harsh climate of the high desert of New Mexico. Irwin was a photographer who was obviously in tune with his subjects, and they with him, so you are getting an inside look at a period now lost in time, with these spare and insightful photos.

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Driftwood Shelter

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Photo by Lloyd Kahn

This is a shack that I built on a remote beach about 5 years ago. (It’s such a long hike that I’ve never seen anyone at this spot.) I used hammer and nails. I kept a tarp stashed behind some bushes on the bank that I’d stretch over the top. Cook a pigeon or chicken on a fire, foil-wrapped potato and onions in coals. Sit around dying embers and watch stars. Flask of brandy. Sleep with waves hitting beach 50 feet away.

It blew down last year, and I’ll probably rebuild it later this year.

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