As soon as the now-iconic LIFE magazine images of the San Berdoo Hells Angels were released on the Internet, I wanted to know more about the photographer and how the shoot came about.
This curiosity led to creating a feature on Bill Ray, the LIFE staffer who shot the famous photos in San Bernardino and Bakersfield, in the new issue of GKM.
I talked to him about why the shoot came about, who brokered the deal between LIFE and the Angels, what it was like to hang out with the mother charter for a month, and why the photos never ran in the magazine. The fact they were never published has led Bill to publish his own book from the original negatives, which you can buy here.
Bill is a legend, working for LIFE magazine for 15 years, shooting everyone from Elvis to JFK, Marilyn to The Beatles. Bill's photos have graced no less than 46 covers of Newsweek.
Bill told me: "The Angels were as much fun to shoot as Natalie Wood or Michael Caine...". Don't miss this issue, out on October 1.