In the private photo collection of Charles W. Cushman, recently made available online through the Indiana University Archives, there's a group of photos that were all likely shot in the same month, March 1967, as Cushman played ethnographer and documented the hippie kids who were beginning to congregate in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. Like the people on this tour bus we talked about last week, Cushman was a square tourist who arrived in the neighborhood to see what all the fuss was about and you can see in several photos in which the subjects are flipping him the bird, not all the hippies took kindly to being gawked at.
Last year we looked at a couple of other batches of photos from Cushman that he took on trips to San Francisco trips that he took for business and pleasure nearly every year between 1938, when he was one of the earliest photographers to capture the Golden Gate Bridge in color, and 1969. A hobbyist who was an early adopter of color film, he was a fan of cars, flora, and architecture, and made repeated trips to photograph flowers blossoming in Golden Gate Park and the Palace of Fine Arts at various times of day. He also took photos of various parts of the city in the middle of the last century, documenting moments in time for various neighborhoods like these photos of Telegraph Hill and Chinatown in 1952, and these of Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights in 1955.
But now we get a window on March of 1967 other photos he took of flowers had labels with specific dates in March, and the Haight photos just say "1967," but we can safely assume that all the photos were taken during the same trip, since Cushman did not live here. Barely two months after the Human Be-In, but a couple months before the wild influx of humanity that would become known as the Summer of Love, Cushman captures the casual street fashions and barefoot carefree-ness of the kids who were hanging out on the streets of the Haight at the beginning of the hippie era some of Cushman's labels even refer to them as the "Beat Generation."