Saturday, April 01, 2006

Where Have All The Flowers Gone

This photograph was taken in the old Dade County Court House on Flagler Street in downtown Miami. The new Metro Justice Building had yet to be built. Drug and drug related trials were commonplace. I really don't remember the particulars of this one, what the issues were or who the defendants might have been, after 38 years have passed. I don't remember what the outcome was, either.

Dade County was about the first jurisdiction in the country to allow cameras in the court room. The rules were simple: no flash allowed and no camera that was louder than a Leica M. It was spelled out in the ordinance by name. A lot of news photographers who'd completely switched over to motorized Nikon F's were dusting off their old Leicas, or looking around to buy some! After all, you never knew when you'd have to suddenly rush over to the court house!

This shot was an assignment from the underground paper, The Daily Planet, and probably taken a couple of years before the new relaxed attitude towards cameras in the court room. The big challenge was to get an eye catching image to illustrate the story, something more than just another boring mug shot of the defendants. I took this one in a room used by the attornies and defendants just outside of the court room.

It was the peak of the hippie movement in this country. They were commonly referred to as "flower children". No, I didn't put the flower there. I have no idea who did put it there, but I think it really makes the picture. I was shooting with my Leica M4 with a 50/1.4 Nikkor lens. (I was prepared for the new regulations!)


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