Text and Image Photography

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The Flashback

The flashback

The flashback has evolved as a term that has two meanings.

Today the flashback is commonly known as being associated with post traumatic stress disorder. Vets come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with sporadic recollections of war felt while in a dissociative state, which can occur at any time replaying the horrific images of bombs exploding, shrapnel propelling and machine guns shooting as if they were back in war.

Decades ago the flashback referred to an enlightening experience that one had after taking LSD. One would take the drug, having hallucinations for hours soon afterword. Some people never got over the hallucinations completely, experiencing flashbacks years after taking the drug.

Associated with the word is a colorful experience, pleasant in every way for most, but a nightmare for a select few. Hippies used it as a symbol for being free, an experience where they could hear colors and see sounds. As you can see from the text in the photo above, the flashback looks like some sort of colorful celebration. Indeed, it was. Evidently those who took the drug would see trails of color when they swept their hands in the air.

Along with the LSD experience is the fantasy of the drug that was picked up in popular culture and remains used for advertising and sales. This sign is one taken in front of a used clothing store San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. The sign is no longer there, but replaced with a similar one.

Today LSD use is way down for two reasons– the primary producer of the drug was arrested in 2000, and the demise of the rock group The Grateful Dead. Back in the day. The sound manager of the Grateful Dead made  supplied the group with LSD.


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