The 1960s LSD movement was captured by Lawrence Schiller in all its psychedelic forms -- from student bedsits at the University of Berkeley to Acid Tests run by the Merry Pranksters.
A loose group devoted to the exploration of LSD, the Pranksters, led by author Ken Kesey, were the subject of Tom Wolfe's trailblazing "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."
Wolfe and Schiller have come together to release a new Taschen special edition pairing Wolfe's New Journalism text with some of the era's most iconic photos.
Images from Schiller and fellow photographer Ted Streshinsky capture the hedonism and idealism of the age, when still-legal LSD was being produced by master chemist Owsley Stanley III and spreading from coast to coast.
The Merry Pranksters barreled around the US on a modified 1939 school bus nicknamed "Further." Painted -- and frequently repainted -- with vibrant psychedelic imagery, the bus crossed the country to the New York World's Fair in 1966, before returning. After that it would be used for West Coast adventures, to Beatles concerts for example, with Pranksters jamming on the roof as they drove.
One of the era's most iconic shots was taken by Schiller at an Acid Test in Hollywood, 1966. Called "Me and My Shadow," it shows a reveler dancing with himself mid-trip. The image was subsequently used by the Flaming Lips for the cover of "The Soft Bulletin."
The height of Kesey's efforts was the Acid Test Graduation, which took place on October 31, 1966. Kesey (center, shirtless) was entangled with legal proceedings against him for marijuana possession and faked suicide, and wanted to go out in a moment in triumph. The test was ostensibly to "go beyond acid," to reach its heightened state sober. In reality everyone took acid with television cameras rolling -- Kesey's last prank with the Pranksters.
A first-timer in the throes of a bad trip. "I experienced the desire to die, but not actual death," she later said, "very strongly the desire to rip my skin off and pull my hair out and pull my face off."
As the first national photojournalist to capture the American acid scene from the inside, Lawrence Schiller began with a single contact in Berkeley, California, and built a large network of young, receptive subjects who allowed him to document their private experiences with LSD.