1968 was a volatile year, globally. Student unrest, protests, riots, massacres. But against injustice, there was a sense that society was a force to be reckoned with. We battled tyranny, fought oppression; unified, we shared a hope for change and peace; and believed that our voices mattered.
For three months, in the fall of 1968, Lenny Gottlieb, a resident of a suburb near Boston, worked at a large photographic processing lab. Most rolls of film that individuals turned in to local photo shops and drugstores were processed and printed there. Gottlieb had the foresight to keep some 30,000 prints that were either duplicates or rejects, destined for the trash. We have mounted an exhibition of approximately 500 snapshots culled from this large group which became part of his private collection.
As these images attest, life goes on amidst chaos; and the advent of the instamatic camera afforded everyone an opportunity to document aspects of that ongoing life, from the incidental to the momentous. In fact, there is little evidence of global turmoil in these pictures. Perhaps this was merely a quality inherent in the snapshot; or was it a reflection of our naiveté? Our survivalist instinct and will to thrive? Our blind sense of security, which remains to this day?
Lenny Gottlieb lives in Boston, Massachusetts where he works as an art educator and a photographer. In 2004, Dewi Lewis published Lost and Found in America, The Homefront, Fall 1968: Family photos during the Vietnam War, from Gottlieb’s collection of amateur photos