Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gold Mine in the Closet

Someone from NFL films called recently to ask for a photo of a former player that I'd taken some years ago. Well, I looked in all the places I thought it would be--I was looking for a box of slides, really with maybe 6 good photos of the player--and couldn't find it. Which led me to have to dive into the box of slide sheets. Well, once I started, it was hard to stop. Most of the slides deal with Peru: From Iquitos in 1984 through the Cold Beer Blues Bar. The boats I rebuilt and took out onto the Amazon and then up the Jivari; Belen market over the years, Machu Picchu, riverboats, sunsets, ayahuasca, my friend Pablo's Matses camp and the first photos ever taken of Sapo, the Matses medicine extracted from a frog that's dabbed on fresh burned spots generally on the upper arms. There were photos of Matses hunts, and the use of Sapo, and plant medicines, and fiestas on the river and photos of the jungle three days, four days deep into the damp green. Things most people don't get a chance to see. There were photos of a couple of the women that the Matses stole years ago, and which I wrote about on my blog recently.
     And then there were photos from India and Morocco, stories I did for High TImes. And then photos of Leary and Richard Schultes, and a younger Dennis McKenna and Ram Dass with his arm around me and a host of photos of key members of the marijuana movement from the mid-1980s through the late 1990s: Dennis Peron, Brownie Mary, Jack Herer, Steve Hager, my boss at HT, two of the women of the cannabis movement, Debbie Goldsberry and Monica Pratt, and reformers like Julie Stewart who fights so hard against mandatory minimums and Brenda Grantland, who founded Forfeiture Endangers American Rights, and Ben Masel and Dr. Tod Mikuriya and most of the folks who were receiving government medical marijuana at the time.
     I never did find the photos I was looking for, damnit. But I did find a gold mine and wish I could think of something to do with it, because while they're not all the greatest photos in the world, an awful lot of them are pretty unique.

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