Dennis Stock took a five-week road trip along the California highways in 1968, documenting the golden state at a time of social turmoil and flux.
The year 1968 is remembered as one of the most stormy in American recent history. Within 12 months, the country experienced the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Opposition to the Vietnam War escalated, and student activism resulted in violence on several campuses. As movements related to civil rights, political rights, and youth culture exploded, a spirit of rebellion swept the country.


Dennis stock free-flowing approach to photography allowed the contradictions of the time to speak for themselves. There are images of sun-kissed, back-to-nature hippy couples and marching black militants, missile bases and utopian communes, endless Californian beaches and a towering stack of rusting cars in a scrapyard.

These black and white photos were compiled to create the photobook California Trip, originally published in 1970, the publication became an emblem of how the idealism of the 60s counter culture peaked and faded. In Dinnis Stock own words. “Every idea that Western man explores in his pursuit of the best of all possible worlds will be searched at the head lab -California. Technological and spiritual quests vibrate throughout the state, intermingling, often creating the ethereal. It is from this freewheeling potpourri of search that the momentary ensembles in space spring, presenting to the photographer his surrealistic image. However, to the Californians it is all so ordinary, almost mundane. The sensibility of these conditioned victims is where it is all at, right, left, up and down. Our future is being determined in the lab out West. There, a recent trip blew my mind across this state of being, as I collected images along the way to remember the transient quality of the Big Trip.”

Previously Dennis Stock’s career was defined by his work with cultural icons, including James Dean, Marlon Brando, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Louis Armstrong… and major magazines, such as Time and LIFE.

In print for the first time since its 1970 publication, California Trip is a faithful reproduction of Stock’s timeless work. The book had become a collectors’ item, and its reissue at an affordable price makes it available to a wider audience

The spreads reproduced here belong to the original 1970 edition.
For more info on Dennis Stock you can visit his profile in Magnum Agency.