Roger Steffens, decorated veteran, archivist, author, actor, editor, lecturer, DJ, and photographer of over 40,000 Kodachrome slides and hundreds of thousands of black and white and color negatives joins Moonlight Arts Collective with an exciting release of limited edition prints.
Photo provided by the artist
Steffens’ photographs are a treasure, capturing his life and unorthodox experiences from the early 1960s onward. His signature double-exposed images and unique perspectives on one of the most revolutionary periods in history offers the viewer an inside look that feels candid and intimate.
What started as a poetry project and snapshots of friends quickly grew in scale and poignancy when Steffens was drafted to Vietnam in 1967. He moved up the ranks from colonel’s typist to leader of his own division in the psyops unit working on civic action projects with the directive to photograph everything he saw. Steffens shot thousands and thousands of frames over his 26-month tour and when he returned home he went on the road, documenting everything with his Canon FT.
According to a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Steffens spent much of the early ‘70s photographing his daily life and that of notable friends like war reporter Richard Boyle, British war photographer Tim Page, and anti-war activist Ron Kovic whose memoir was adapted into the Oliver Stone film, Born on the Fourth of July. Kovic once left a roll of previously exposed film featuring shots of Cambodian refugees in Steffens’s camera bag and mistaking it for a fresh roll, Steffens reshot it with photos of stained glass windows only realizing what had happened after the film was developed. This happy accident led to thousands more photos showcasing Steffens’s various methods and photography styles over the years.
We have Steffens family to thank for bringing this massive collection to the digital age and a whole new generation of fans. Affectionately referred to as “The Family Acid” by friends who’d gather around for Steffens’s slideshows of his collection, it was his children who recognized the value in his vast body of work. His son Devon started digitizing the collection in 2013 and his daughter Kate started an Instagram account which quickly amassed over 50k followers.
It seems only fitting that our first release from Steffens’s impressive collection should be one celebrating its 50th anniversary. Living in Berkeley, CA and hanging with famous writers, musicians, and artists he continued to document everything including one of the most highly anticipated stops on Bob Dylan’s tour with The Band following a seven-and-a-half-year touring hiatus.
“In 1974, I was living in Berkeley, California. I went to see Bob Dylan and the Band perform at the Oakland Coliseum, with some of my Bay Area friends including fiber artist Janet Lipkin poet Eileen Kaufman (widow of poet Bob Kaufman, and DJ and music historian Eric Isralow aka Dr. Rock,” Steffens relayed to his daughter Kate who shared it with us.
The following photos were shared with us as an accompaniment to our recent release of bob dylan and the band, live at the oakland coliseum, february 11, 1974 by Roger Steffens.
Janet Lipkin wearing her own design, DJ Dr. Rock, and an unnamed pal
From left, Eileen Kaufman, Dr. Rock, an unnamed friend, and in the back, Janet Lipkin
The concert crowd before the show started
Long exposure of the stage during the concert
A colorful figure outside the show
Hare Krishnas outside the Coliseum
Limited edition 6 x 6 inch and 12 x 12 inch prints signed and numbered by Roger Steffens with a certificate of authenticity from Verisart are live and ready to come home with you. Sign up to become a moonlight insider for early access to future releases by The Family Acid, exclusive perks, and concierge services.
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