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This week, Mimi Plumb kindly let me write about her series What Is Remembered which shows the clearing of orchards and farms for subdivisions between 1972 and 1975, in her (then) hometown of Walnut Creek. She photographed the alienated kids who reminded her of her younger self. I first met Mimi in 2014. It feels like this article has been a long time coming. I had wrote about 500 words. I wish I had 500 pages.

I adore Mimi. I posted about her series Pictures From The Valley, when her images were used in an initiative to find farmworkers involved in California labor organizing, and then to secure their oral histories.

What Is Remembered is evocative stuff fusing memory, generational differences, consumerism, fear, innocence and our place in the world–that is all to say, our responsibility to the world.



To quote:

After a career teaching photography, only recently has Plumb returned to her archive. Nostalgia, partly, accounts for the current popularity of Plumb’s work. But, frankly, it is only now that people have the stomach for it. While her college instructors at the time loved the work, it was too unadorned and too uncomfortable for many others to appreciate.

“The raw dirt yards and treeless streets, model homes expanding exponentially, with imperceptible variation. A lot of it’s pretty dark and some of it is pessimistic.”

Plumb never felt comfortable among the cul-de-sacs and manicured yards. She rarely had the words for what she was experiencing … until she discovered photography in high school.

In 1971, the two lane road to the city became four lanes. Aged 17, Plumb left for San Francisco. The bland atmosphere of the suburbs stood in stark contrast, says Plumb, to the cultural and violent upheavals taking place across the country — the shooting of John F Kennedy, the ongoing threat of nuclear war, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement.

“Suburbia felt like something of a purgatory to me,” she explains. “It was intellectually hard; you couldn’t really talk about what was going on in the world.”

“I watched the rolling hills and valleys mushroom with tract homes,” says Plumb. “To me and my teenage friends, they were the blandest, saddest homes in the world.”

More: Photos of growing up in the Bay Area suburbs tell a story of innocence and disaffection





© Larry Wolfley

Last month, on a flight from Oakland to Seattle, I sat next to an energetic, punky, wide-eyed young lady. Her view of the world was full of naivete, optimism and anti-capitalism. She lived for music and she talked about the Gilman Club … a lot.

I lived in the SF Bay Area for several years but not being punk, garage, shed or synth-krunk I’d never heard of it. A week later I came across Larry Wolfley‘s photography. As well as photographing at underground shows and East Bay clubs, Wolfley has been a makeshift “house photographer” at the Gilman Club for 12 years.

Wolfley recently did an interview with Maximum Rock and Roll. He has a PhD in English Lit from Berkeley, he taught at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the seventies, abandoned academia, returned to Berkeley, became a carpenter, had a son, took photos, realised he knew nothing, resolved to teach himself photography, and decided street punks on Telegraph Avenue were a good topic. The homeless punks told Wolfley he had to go to the Gilman Club if he were to understand their culture. He’s been shooting punk and music gigs since.

Wolfley is more than twice the age than the majority of the crowd. All the kids know him, his Canon and his black beanie hat.

Just wanted to give a shout out to a local hero whose recognition has been a long time coming. Visit his website.



prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

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