Monday, August 29, 2011

PHOTOGRAPHING FLOWER POWER FOR MARVELOUS MONDAY!!!




Flower power, for those of us old enough to remember it, will always remain a reminder of a very complex time to be young in the United States! Nothing exemplified this more for me than the term Flower power!! Flower power was a slogan used by the American counterculture movement during the late1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. 


It was rooted in the opposition movement to what many of us thought was an unjust war, that being the Vietnam War! The expression was coined by the American beat poet, Allen Ginsburg in 1965 as a means of transforming war protest into peaceful, non threatening street theater. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair and giving flowers to the public thus becoming known as flower children. The term later became known as a way to represent the hippie movement and a culture of drugs, psychedelic music /art and permissiveness. I feel this demeaned the importance of the movement. 


For many of us it was a time of deep cultural divide. Before this time in the US the young people listened and believed what their parents believed in social/political matters. The wars up until Vietnam were generally supported by most of the population. There had been men who would not fight in wars and took the very controversial and some would say brave stand that they would not kill anyone but never before did a generation stand up and shout "Hell no, we won't go". 


I remember some very heated conversations with my uncle and dad about the war. When I was called to take my physical for the draft with seven of my buddies it was a scary time. Amazingly six out of eight of us flunked our physicals. The ride back to our town was as confusing as the times. We almost wanted to celebrate, to laugh and shout but two of us would be going to Vietnam. One of those two was completely deaf in one ear but faked the hearing test (I have no idea how) and was drafted.

There was also very mixed feelings. We were all raised in homes that loved this country and we did and still do. We just did not believe in this war, it was not our fathers' or grandfathers' war. We were not attacked and many felt we were there for political reasons.
It was not easy to justify those feelings to ourselves when raised in such a different environment. After all John Wayne never disagreed with his country (he actually made a film about the war that looked as though it was written by the administration). 


I know some of us were conflicted about our own thoughts. Before my physical I honestly had thoughts on running off to Canada and that made me feel like a traitor to my country and family. I also thought that I would probably just go off to war and that made me feel like a traitor to myself!  As I said it was complex times! 


There was so much killing going on inVietnam and in our own country. It seemed like everything was changing; our feelings on the war and our country, our feelings on racial injustice, our feelings on women's rights, our feelings on the 'sexual revolution' and our feelings about the drug culture revolution. It was a strange, interesting time to be young in the US. 


Then slide in all the 'normal stuff' hormones and feelings of inadequacy !!!! Did Sally like us, would she go out with us? Scott broke up with you! How would you ever find another love like him? Seems silly now but in those young years it was very important!  The Flower Power movement, like most movements died out but it was important. It helped change the public perception of the war and helped end it! 

 So remember a time when the young people of this country voiced our opposition to a war and using the symbol of the flower helped change how a nation thought!



I took these on our trip back to Massachusetts. We were driving with my brother Vin and his wife Susan when we found a field of sunflowers that my brother Bob told us about.
Vin and I left the car and started walking across a field to get to the flowers. It looked promising from this distance.



But when we came closer it was obvious that the flowers were a week or so past their peak!




I adjusted my thoughts and decided it might be a portrait shoot, a portrait of flowers!!! I started looking for individual flowers that were still in good shape. I had to find flowers that I could backlight or sidelight to get the best images.








As I walked around this large field of flowers I was able to include more of the field in my shots.






I hope you enjoyed this flower power post and will check out some of the other bloggers involved in the Marvelous Mondays at 
http://networkedblogs.com/mg0v6

24 comments:

Larry Lewis said...

Only you could go from Vietnam war to sunflowers. My Dad still blames my love for vietnam films and music as to be one reasons i joined up. When it comes to Sunflowers, well my mum had a huge framed painting of sunflowers in her dining room, and i can't see any without thinking of many happy times sitting under those sunflowers

Rimly said...

Sunflowers are exactly what their name implies. When you look at one you are instantly warmed its bright and vibrant color. I have heard of the Flower Power movement and always marveled at it. Flowers are innocent and beautiful and pure what better symbolism to use that is so opposed to war. Thank you Jim for sharing this beautiful narrative with this these spectacular photos

Hamlet's Lair said...

i definitely enjoyed your sunflower photos! they're lovely and though they're past their peak, they still look vibrant and beautiful! i love all the shots!

Jan said...

Wow you did a great job of narrating a tumultuous time in our country and accurate I remember all the feelings you spoke of. No I didn't get drafted after all I am female, but I did watch friends go and nt come back or come back different. Thank you for that.

The sunflower are awesome. They and daisies are my favorite flowers always smiling. You did a wonderful job of capturing these.

http://jovanecatharticmusings.blogspot.com/2011/08/magnificent-monday-flower-power.html

Cathy Sweeney said...

Awesome commentary about a time I remember well, too. Very well said. And those sunflowers are gorgeous -- love the close ups.

Nelieta said...

What an interesting read Jim! I have always dreamt of photographing sunflowers! I love them so much that I have them on our website :) The photos are spectacular!

Alpana Jaiswal said...

Great post Jim,very informative and the pictures are out of this world...I had a paper in History on American History...and I do remember a little..but you revived it all.

Tameka said...

Jim, we have all heard of or seen many movies about the 6o's, Flower Children and Flower Power, but it's nothing like reading someone's personal account of how they felt about the time. I've always wished that I was around during that time. I would have been rocking bell bottoms, singing, and protesting along with everyone else! Now, those pictures of the sunflowers are just gorgeous. Just like Jan said the one's that we see close up definitely look like they are smiling. The sunflower is my favorite flower. This post warmed me through and through. :-)

http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2011/08/lyric-fire-look-at-my-fabulous-life-episode-3-home-alone-with-vanessa-stone.html

eigroj said...

My God the photos were so beautiful... i admired how beautiful you took them ....

Jim said...

Like you I had mixed feelings during those years. My girlfiend used to drag me along to anti-war demonstrations, and while doing my national military service I openly questioned our involvement there. Yes New Zealand was supporting the US effort.
Aftter spending 2 weeks in Vietnam, I came away with the impression that the war should never have been fought. Today we visit and we trade with them.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

The 60s and 70s were an amazing time. My kids roll their eyes when the subject comes up - as with every generation, guess you had to be there. Between the politics, war, and the music there was certainly a lot going on! Your sunflower photos are perfect for Flower Power Monday :D

Bongo said...

Just beautiful.....As always...XOXOXO

Abhisek said...

Marvelous photographs Jim.....the most beautiful Sunflower shots. :)

sukanya said...

You made my day Jim ...sunflowers are my favorites...they just have this special power to brighten one's day like no other . your skilled photography made them even more special. Thank you.

BlogNostics said...

Jim,

I was to young to remember the great counterculture divide during the 60s & early 70s. lol

I love the images. They are always so beautiful..

xoxox

Jessica
BlogNostics

Jerly said...

I am glad I read this post. Not only do your pictures speak, your words create such strong, vibrant, real pictures...:) Loved it all

Bec Owen said...

I so enjoyed reading about your experience of the 60s and 70s...I can remember my brother being old enough to be in the draft lottery, but fortunately his birthday wasn't drawn out. I was still young, but I was aware of the shifting tides of the time.

Your sunflower portraits are beautiful Jim! I think they are the happiest flower on the planet!

Mary said...

Your story was very interesting Jim :) But I have to say, it is the flowers that caught my attention throughout your post. I am your 'flower girl' all the way, and anytime I spot flowers of any kind, I am there :) Wonderful post!

Alejandro said...

I was born in the flower power times.

Just saying that to rub my younger age in lol

Brilliant and informative texts and images Jim

One day we might be friends

A

Leah Griffith said...

Jim, I remember those turbulent years, protesting and chanting, & burning my training bra. *grin
Everything was shifting, creating a huge generation gap. We were young, passionate, and unafraid, standing up for our beliefs. I’m proud to have been there.

These photographs of sunflowers are lovely, although a little past their prime…like some of us;)
Leah
http://www.eatingliferaw.blogspot.com

Savira Gupta said...

Through every line of your story a bit of sunshine peeked through... Sunflowers have a way of brightening up the bleakest moments...

melissa said...

I've always wondered why it was called "flower power"... I came to know more of the Vietnam war because of the songs created during those era...esp. by the Beatles...

Anyhow, I liked your choice of flower. I've always admired them from afar. Looking at your images brought me back to Italy where I first saw them. I loved how they follow the sun...(that's why I like Kati's surname :P)...and they look like a mass of yellow carpet.

I like the clear blue sky and the portrait that you made of the sunflower. I could also see them smiling back at me.

FLOWER POWER Jim :)

Thanks for the infos in the introduction... it expanded my knowledge to what wars were way back then...

sheril benedict said...

seems like sunflower got its power after seeing your camera !! well done Jim

Nancie said...

Beautiful shots! As you know, we both posted sunflowers this week. Definitely one of my favorite flowers.