In April, an anti-war demonstration in Boston ended with a march to Cambridge. As night fell, people started breaking into stores and looting, and the police responded with tear gas and clubbing. Waves of protesters and police moved around Harvard Square; smaller groups ran through the surrounding streets. A friend from Texas, a high school track star, loved it: a riot in his own backyard, where he knew all the alleys and shortcuts. I hated it. I found the violence in my community deeply upsetting. I saw a policeman chase another friend up to the second floor of our dormitory and crack his head open. My friend was bloody and on his knees, the policeman was pulled away by a fellow officer, and they left while hysterical students screamed at them.

Spring semester ended for the second year in a row with a college-wide strike and all grading moved to Pass/Fail. The handful of politically motivated students went door-to-door to try to bridge the bitter national divide about the Vietnam War, but most of the college community played Frisbee, sunbathed by the river, raised their fists when called upon, and were happy to do without exams and final papers.

I found the violence in my community deeply upsetting.

I felt depressed and alienated, and I hatched a plan to go camping by myself in the woods in Canada. My girlfriend was to join me for part of the summer. Her parents were not happy with this idea and came up with an alternative: “We’re going to Russia. Why don’t you come with us?” I abandoned camping and went on the trip, camera in hand.

When I got back from Russia, I took the first pictures that are still interesting to me. They were of summer at my stepfather’s house in Maine.

Kelly Nowels