Bill Owens: Altamont 1969 (Damiani, 2019)



Bill Owens (born September 25, 1938) is an American photographer, photojournalist, brewer and editor living in Hayward, California. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 1976 is best known for his photographs of suburban domestic scenes taken in the East Bay and published in the book Suburbia in 1973.



“In December of 1969 I got a call from a friend, she said the Associated Press wanted to hire me for a day to cover a rock and roll concert. I road my motorcycle to the event. I had two Nikons, three lenses, thirteen rolls of film, a sandwich, and a jar of water.” Bill Owens





‘Altamont 1969’ by Bill Owens presents an unpublished series of photographs documenting the unique moment of the first large Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Raceway Park in California.

This was during the period of protest movements in San Francisco. Bill Owens captured the young generation’s desire to stand up and raise their voice against the war in Vietnam, against segregation and racial discrimination, against authority in general. Slogans and billboards, sit-ins and demonstrations, are evidence of the cultural agitation of those years. Together with the Stones, other major rock bands appeared on stage, including Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane, Carlos Santana and many others, while the Hells Angels were employed as security.

Bill Owens has always been involved in socio-anthropological aspects of American culture and in the rise of the collective movement of protest and criticism against the misuse of power. Here, he uses photography as a kind of ‘visual anthropologist’, painting a ‘fresco’ of the cultural revolution that swept the whole world during the 1960s. Publisher`s Info










Edited by Claudia Zanfi | Text by Sasha Frere-Jones, Bill Owens, Claudia Zanfi | Language: English | Pages: 96 | Illustrations: 59 | Binding: hardbound | Release: January 2019.