Rainbow Gathering: Portraits and Still lifes
By John Bessa
July 13, 2010
I went to the Rainbow Gathering this year, July 1st through 7th, and
concentrated on portraits because these people, in my opinion, are
amongst the most important in society.
Naturally, if you know my photography (can bee seen at
JohnBessa.com), I attempted to appreciate Nature with still-lifes.
But I also did my first two weddings--perhaps I am finally on the way
to commercial photography!
About the Gathering: It was founded in the mid-70s by soldiers
returning from Vietnam and their families to create a therapeutic
environment for healing from the traumatic stress they suffered from
that exceedingly damaging war.
The family, as all Rainbows are called, meets every year in a
national forest, and each to arrive is greeted with a loud "welcome home!"
The biggest gatherings were in the 1980s, numbering 15-20 thousand.
Today the gatherings are smaller, but not much smaller, averaging
about 10 thousand. The consistently strong numbers of campers at the
Rainbow Gatherings have significant implications: hippie culture is
alive and well in the United States after all these years, and
hippies have been reproducing!
Breakfast at the Faerie Kamp
Another group joined "the gathering" early on: the San Francisco
"Faeries." The Faeries had their own gathering society that pre-dated
the Rainbow Gathers, and they brought experience with them that
included urban sophistication and advanced adaptations of hygiene.
The Fairy Camp is alive and well this year, and was called the "Faerie Kamp."
Blessings from the Mud Faeries
They took you under their arms and granted you a wish by softly
humming into your shakras.
Rainbows young and old -- the Grand Mame here is over 90. I remember
her from gatherings twenty-five years ago; she passed as a teenager
back then! Two Faeires hug in the background.
Just as in the early days during the protest period of Vietnam, there
can be tremendous pressure from the US Forest Service and other
enforcers, but this gathering was significant for its harmony with
federal authority. There is a "resident" ranger group, affectionately
called the Six-Ups, who attempt to bond with the various camps.
Another federal group is not so friendly: the LEOs, or Forest Service
Law Enforcement Officers. These are well-armed, and go looking for
pot smokers, as if marijuana is the enemy. This year they sported
paint ball guns, and I could not imagine what they had in mind.
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