In 1969, Roberta Price headed west with a camera to document the newly forming communes in New Mexico and Colorado. As Roberta describes, “The more the Vietnam War got worse and the protests got worse, the more we kept thinking about the West and the freedom of the West and the ability to experiment in the West.” Traveling on a fellowship from State University of New York, at the age of 22, she and her partner at the time, David Perkins, visited communes including Drop City, New Buffalo, and Reality Construction Company. The two eventually ended up moving to Libre, a commune in the Huerfano Valley of Colorado, where they lived for seven years.
At the time there was concern about how these communities were being portrayed by the media. Although major news reporters were kept away from the communes, Roberta and David were let into a lot of places – many of which they found through the Whole Earth Catalog and word of mouth. Roberta decided not to publish her photographs at the time, because of her concern that too much exposure could have negative impacts on the commune movement. Instead she chose to leave her life back East, build a home at Libre, and continue taking photographs.
It wasn’t until 2004 that Roberta published her first work, Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture, about her communal experiences during the 70s. Across the Great Divide: A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture is Roberta’s latest photography book. In discussing the collection, her hope is that “people will be looking at it across the divide of time, across the divide of culture, across the divide of all the knowledge of what’s happened since that time.”
Watch the Story:
Music From The Story
“Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell
“Going Up the Country” by Canned Heat
“Across the Great Divide” by The Band
All photographs copyright and by Roberta Price. Additional photographs by David Perkins.
|This story was produced by our intern Patty Fung in collaboration with the Kitchen Sisters and Roberta Price. Patty has been a contributing blogger for the Hidden World of Girls series and has produced multimedia work for the Kitchen Sisters on various projects.|