Anyone who knows the history of Black Flag knows about Spot. The legendary South Bay lensman had a brief tenure as bass player in the band but went on to produce most of their earlier E.P.s and helped build the legendary Media Arts studio where most of their seminal tracks were put to tape. He then began taking photos professionally of the local surf, skate and music scene in the late 70s and early 80s for beach newspaper the Easy Reader. His photo collection, Sounds of Two Eyes Opening – Southern California Life: Skate/Beach/Punk 1969-1982 displays his considerable talents with convincing proof.
The cover portrait is a mesmerizing photo of young girl seemingly levitating above her skateboard, and inside you get page after page of youth culture in revolt, in repose, and enjoying the fabled Southern California beach life in all its shag haired glory, generations before millenial teens sadly buried their faces into their cell phones. These black and white images of half dressed adolescents roller-skating up and down the strand, shredding backyard plywood ramp skate sessions and church basement punk jams capture the burgeoning counter culture in it’s infancy, but the paradox is how much of this vibrant lifestyle Spot was able to capture in photos devoid of color. The broad smiles and excitement of young people enjoying their coastal arcadia and building their own unique brand of delinquent fun is impossible to miss, even without Kodachorome to boost it’s quality. It took someone with a keen eye like Spot to find these moments and save them for the rest of us to marvel at decades later, resigned to the knowledge that times like the ones he documents here are sadly trapped in the past.
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