Michael Jang’s Instagram Feed Offers a Window Into CalArts in the ’70s

Comedian Steve Allen gives the commencement speech at CalArts. One of many photos on Michael Jang’s Instagram feed. | Photo: Michael Jang

Just in time for Throwback Thursday, photographer and CalArts alumnus Michael Jang (Art BFA 73) shares his Instagram feed with 24700, giving everyone a peek at CalArts in the 1970s. While the halls, Main Gallery and the overall layout of the campus is familiar, the candid shots provide a time-warping slideshow of a bygone era. 

In an interview with Vice, Jang talks about the photos and his process:

The pictures are from me walking around with a camera all the time—not for my elective specifically, but rather to keep my chops together. Like doing musical scales so to speak—to be fluid. When you do street photography, you have to sense that picture coming, before it happens; you have to be in the right place and time.

Select photos have been compiled into a zine called Collegeavailable from Hamburger EyesVice asks about the zine’s reception by his former CalArts peers, to which he answers, “We’re all connected with social media now, and they’re excited that the book is out… Occasionally I’ll ask someone, ‘Is it OK to publish this? You don’t have any clothes on,’ and they all say, ‘go for it. It’s all equal opportunity fun.'”

The feed, which can be found on @michaeljangsf, contains an ever-growing archive of student life. Making cameo appearances are David Hasselhoff (Theater 73), Art faculty John Baldessari (Chouinard 53) and the late sitar player and music faculty Ravi Shankar. Jang welcomes viewers to identify themselves or people they know in the photos. It is, to quote the Instagram description, “the yearbook we never had.”

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