Photographers need to take care of their own business in the digital age

Social documentary photographer Ken Light’s latest project is a retrospective and personal one, looking back at his first photos during “the Vietnam era, the drugs era, the rock and roll era.”

Light’s Kickstarter campaign and book, titled “What’s Going On: America 1969-1974,” is hitchhiking across America with Light to protests, concerts, and to experience life during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

It was a time in which a lot of young people felt they could change the world, he said, a time when Light said he “made a lot of mistakes” but also found and honed his photographic style.

Then he was an 18-year-old kid. Now he’s a UC Berkeley photojournalism professor.

In the digital age, photographers can look to the crowdfunding to bring stories to light, he said.

“I’ve kind of spent some time trying to get it published, then I decided we photographers need to kind of do it ourselves,” Light told Through the Cracks. “This is the modern digital age and there’s all types of new opportunities for us to go out and reach large audiences.”

The fully-funded campaign that successfully raised $30,000 ends March 18.

Light plans to use funds above his $30,000 goal to donate copies of the book to libraries and schools to share the story of the era.

With 48 hours to go at the time this story was published, Light’s campaign has raised about $40,000.

Editor’s Note: As his bio below states, Through the Cracks contributor Kevin Hume is a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He currently takes a course led by professor Ken Light.

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Kevin Hume
Kevin is a photojournalist finishing a masters degree at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. Last summer he was a photo intern at the San Francisco Chronicle.