Monday, June 20, 2005
It was 1968, a year of assassinations, student unrest and growing protests against the war in Vietnam. David Fenton was just a kid with a camera, and his life was forever changed.
"I was a high school student in Manhattan and a pretty good photographer, so I started going around in the streets, photographing stuff," Fenton recalls. "I was an impressionable youngster, so I came under the influence. And all these wild, crazy people came to trust me."
Those wild, crazy people were totemic figures of the 1960s - members of the Weather Underground, the Black Panther Party and the activists who came to be known as the Chicago Seven. In a newly released compilation, "Shots: An American Photographer's Journey 1967-1972," Fenton's photos depict the protests, politics and personalities of this turbulent era with a keen eye for detail and a naive fearlessness that comes only with youth.
Today, Fenton is president of Fenton Communications, a media firm for such liberal causes as MoveOn.org and Win Without War. Gray-haired and now 53, he still exudes the mischievous spirit that led him to drop out of high school at 17 to chronicle a revolution.