Don Aters

Don Aters

Don Aters did what many kids his age back home were doing. He headed to California, only instead of an aching in his heart like Led Zeppelin, he had a camera in his hand. Don’s ensuing photographs document the youthful euphoria in the embryonic days of psychedelia and famed venues like the Fillmore East and Fillmore West, Winterland, as well as storied events like Monterey Pop, Woodstock and, later, and every Bonnaroo Festival since inception.
For Don, music and photography became a way of life. His images, he says, captured “the spirit of an entire generation, from the San Francisco zenith of musical history when iconic bands and sounds permeated the air adjacent to Golden Gate Park.”
Don's photos show life “among the stars rather than in front of them at a show.” He says he made friends quickly and easily, and the musicians realized early on that Don wanted nothing from them and needed nothing from them. Along this arduous road, Don made friends with legends including Chet Helms, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, David Nelson, David LaFlamme, Nancy Nevins, David Freiberg, Marty Balin and Tom Constanten (who played keyboards at Don's 2010 wedding).
“My photos on Rock Paper Photo are just a few stills from a still-running movie of a very interesting and psychedelic life,” says the photographer.

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