Friday, November 13th


What’s Going On? 1969-1974 | Photographs by Ken Light

A photo exhibit opening, book signing and panel discussion at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in the Reva and David Logan Gallery, located in the halls of the J-School. 

What’s Going On is a new monograph of photographs taken from 1969-1974 showing Ken Light’s early work as he documented America and the political upheaval of his generation. He began as a participant in the youth movement and then became an observer of the entire spectrum of the cultural and political wars in America. Light criss-crossed the country with youthful passion and a yearning to explain his country to himself, asking, “What’s going on?”

Along the way, his frontline photos documented people across race, class and political lines. The resulting portrait is more than a flashback. It is a unique and important historical record that counteracts the truncated memory of the sixties that has been inserted into our psyche by both editorial and commercial media.

What’s Going On? shows the gritty, down home truth of the working class trying to keep a toehold on the American Dream as wages began to stagnate, and unions weakened. It shows how college students, informed by the media about government policies in Vietnam became disillusioned and then empowered to protest. And, the book shows how divided the United States was politically as the new, more egalitarian world order was foisted upon it.

An integral component of this book is the mini-memoir and timeline of events in the back of the book. Light describes his coming of age process from his early years in a cocooned suburb on Long Island to his political awakening at university where the lessons of his childhood about equality, justice and liberty were in deep contrast with the world he experienced around him. This section is illustrated with his FBI file, personal ephemera, iconic photos. His personal story creates a specific context for the images but also echoes the coming of age of an entire generation.


Mark Rudd is the former ’60s SDS radical student leader and onetime fugitive member of the militant Weatherman faction and was leader of the 1968 student uprising at Columbia University.

Judy Gumbo was an original member of the Yippies and the Youth International Party. She wrote for underground newspapers, and visited North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. In the 1970’s, she helped stage the Women’s March on the Pentagon.

Moderated by Ken Light, professor, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Seats are first-come, first served.

Exhibition on view November 13, 2015 – January 19, 2016 (closed for the holiday break: December 28 – January 4).


The Reva and David Logan Gallery of Documentary Photography


Room 105 - North Gate Hall

Get directions to Room 105 - North Gate Hall