Athens, GA, 1974, UGA Streak Week, Part 3

Setting the record for the largest streak in the country at 1543 participants.

The Grand Finale of Streak Week: 1543 people took off all their clothes and ran from south campus to north campus. Earlier in the week students at the University of South Carolina had set a record for the largest group streak at 300. Not to be outdone by Gamecocks, word spread across campus that the Dawgs would attempt to break that record. After the confrontations with Athens’ finest earlier in the week, the administration quietly put out the word that any events au natural should be confined to school property. So, on a beautiful, balmy Thursday evening, 1543 people set a record that still stands. We know the number because campus security stationed officers at every entrance to the finish area and counted them as they came in. Earlier the same day another unique moment came when five guys sky-streaked, jumping out of an airplane wearing nothing but parachutes, and landed on the intramural fields.

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Athens, GA, 1974, UGA Streak Week, Part 2

Lester Maddox campaigning at UGA

Continuing Streak Week from my last post, passions ran high as culture wars were in full force. Lester Maddox, streaked by several men while speaking, was on campus campaigning for the Democratic nomination in the Georgia gubernatorial election, running against George Busbee. William Shockley, who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for Physics, was also at UGA to debate his theory that non-White peoples were genetically inferior to Whites. In an early example of what is now called cancelling, he was chased from the auditorium and campus and no debate happened. To be clear, I find any notion of racial superiority abhorrent, but I also believe preventing a disagreeable opinion from being debated is wrong. The only way to defeat an argument is to offer a better argument. The Free Speech clause of the First Amendment must protect even the most vile and offensive speech, or it is an empty promise. Trigger warnings and safe spaces are for children. (Next week’s final post from Streak Week will show setting the record for the largest streak in the country, a record that still stands.)

For more photographs of the middle part of Streak Week, go to

Athens, GA, 1974, UGA Streak Week, Part 1

“DON’T LOOK ETHEL!” from “The Streak” by Ray Stevens

It was beautiful early springtime weather at the end of Winter Quarter at the University of Georgia. A colleague from The Red and Black, the daily student newspaper, was at my apartment that Monday evening when we heard there was a disturbance outside the high rise dorms along Baxter Avenue, so we hurried over. (No cell phones then, or 24/7 news coverage; not even a local TV station in Athens, so I don’t know how we heard.) Streaking had been happening around the country and a couple of people had dropped trou and drew a small crowd. Athens police overreacted by firing tear gas into the crowd drawing more students out, in a less than friendly mood. This happened the first of the week, for a couple of nights, but calmer heads prevailed and the students eventually even cleaned up the mess. It was the beginning of an eventful week.

For more photographs from the first part of Streak Week, go to:

Cape Canaveral, FL, 1988

Launch of Discovery, the first shuttle back in space after Challenger

Continuing the Discovery launch from last week’s post; the afternoon before the scheduled launch day, NASA bused media out to several areas close around the launch pad so photographers could set up remote cameras, which would be triggered at the moment of launch. Those are places too close for safety of any human presence during the launch. After some time doing that, approaching twilight, NASA did the Sunset Rollback, moving the support structures away from the shuttle for this photo op.

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Cape Canaveral, FL, 1988

Launch of Discovery, the first shuttle after the Challenger explosion.

For almost thirty years, I had a great job, essentially being paid to wander around the world and take photographs of whatever caught my fancy. It was more complicated than that, and there were plenty of chores I had to do as well, but in my retirement I choose to remember the wonderful (wonder-filled) experiences I had. This one was the launch of Discovery on September 29, 1988, about two and a half years after the Challenger explosion. The night before the launch NASA rolled the structures away from the shuttle, lit it up, and took media out closer to photograph it.

I am in a Monday morning men’s coffee group and this week someone brought up an article on AI that talked about how fake videos can be created showing people saying things they never said, and the deceit is indiscernible. That made me think of this photo, because, although this is the moon from that evening, that is not where it was then. A pretty simple double exposure created the composite. Early in my career I read someone espousing “visual literacy” as an educational need. That’s probably true now more than ever, but “lying” in a medium that seems to be straight forward documentation has always been an option. There is an old saw in the photo business that the camera doesn’t lie, but that is a dangerous assumption. People do, and the camera is just a tool.

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