Pharmacist Doug Carpenter checks pills.
January 29, 1966
A few years ago I was taking pictures of a pharmacist and he adamantly did not want his picture taken counting pills. He had seen his profession visually reduced to a simple bean counting when the skills required were much more complicated. We found some other task to make an image.
Since then I have noticed, especially when TV covers a drug story, the two shots they always use are mechanical assembly line photos and the pill counting photo. When you are trying to tell a story in a short period of time, visual vocabulary can often lean on clichés.
In this case the story was actually about pills and the photographer Jim Vestal worked to make the photo interesting and different by shooting up through the glass.
The story was about new Food and Drug Administration tightening prescription drug rules.
Another story on the page was about “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” author Ken Kesey facing marijuana charges.
The Rolling Stones recorded and released the suburban drug themed “Mother’s Little Helper” in 1966. Guitarist Brian Jones would be dead in three years after his drug use lead to his estrangement from the band.