A Family Album on Acid

Roger Steffens is many things: father, veteran, actor, writer, broadcaster, and an expert on all things reggae. He first picked up a camera during the Vietnam War, but not as a photographer — as a witness. “My grandfather and mother had a keen sense of history,” he said. “They both instilled that sense in me that there were things going on around us that would be looked back upon as historic.” Steffens went on to take some 400,000 images during the height of 1970s counterculture, capturing his growing family, spectacular strangers, and the celebrities he came across. “The kids never knew who was going to be knocking on the door,” he said. “I’d say ‘Come out and meet Burning Spear,’ and they'd say ‘Dad I gotta do my math.’” Steffens let the images linger until his children Kate and Devon started scanning his archive and sharing their family memories on Instagram with the moniker “The Family Acid,” (Steffens met his wife, Mary, during an acid trip in Mendocino's pygmy forest). A selection of the images will be on view at New York City’s Benrubi Gallery beginning July 7 — Steffens’s first exhibition — and he has shared some with The Atlantic below. The captions were provided by the gallery.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

    California’s Fast-Moving Lake Fire

    A dangerous wildfire driven by hot and windy conditions has prompted hundreds of evacuations.

  • Greg Du Toit / Barcroft Media / Getty

    World Elephant Day 2020

    Recent images of African and Asian elephants in their natural habitat, as well as in preserves and protected parks

  • Gwendoline Defente / EMAE via AP

    A Growing Oil Spill Off the Coast of Mauritius

    After running aground and being battered by waves for days, the MV Wakashio has leaked tons of fuel oil.

  • Wesley Hitt / Getty

    Arkansas: Images of the Natural State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of Arkansas, and some of the animals and people calling it home