On the eve of Cesar Chavez Day and what would be his 88th birthday, I’m sharing a never-before published photo I made of the labor and civil rights leader at his home in Keene, California in the mid 1980s. I’m pretty sure it was 1986. I shot this on assignment for The Boston Globe, which was doing a story on Chavez’ grape boycott protesting the use of pesticides. The Globe sent a reporter out from Boston and hired me to shoot some black and white photos of Chavez, as well as photos of the United Farm Workers’ communication center at the Keene complex.
The interview lasted a long time, around two hours, and Chavez was oblivious to the camera, which, of course, is the way we photographers like it. After shooting the black and whites for the Globe, I popped a roll of color slide film into my camera and shot a set of images for myself. I’ve always liked this picture, but never had an opportunity to have it published. The Bakersfield Californian, my employer, had its own set of images of Chavez, or would send us to shoot new ones when needed. So, the picture sat in one of those big boxes of photos I’ve accumulated over the years and am now sharing on this blog. You are seeing this previously unpublished photo for the first time, nearly 30 years after it was made.