Photographer Robert Altman has advice for anyone who aspires to take great pictures. “Pay attention,” says Altman, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s original shooters. “You need to guess that something is going to happen and be ready to click when it does.”
This philosophy is on display throughout his new book, The Sixties, in which Altman’s photos record such local moments as the antiwar protests at Berkeley’s People’s Park. Altman also captured Neil Young performing at Contra Costa College, Chuck Berry duckwalking across the stage at the Berkeley Community Theater, and Bill Graham chewing out Beach Boys management for a late start at the Berkeley Coliseum.
In the photograph above, Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards perform nervously in front of an unruly mob at the infamous 1969 concert at Livermore’s Altamont Speedway. Some 300,000 fans attended the event, during which a member of the Hells Angels fatally stabbed an 18-year-old spectator. Altman was just a couple yards from the melee, on assignment for Rolling Stone.
An exhibit of Altman’s photography will be at the Heather Marx Gallery from January 10 to February 9. The gallery is at 77 Geary St., San Francisco, (415) 627-9111, www.heathermarxgallery.com.
For more about Robert Altman and his photography, click here.