Vintage cocaine party photos

 2128 2131814693 3D193D1Ffe O Here's a fun Flickr set of found photos from the 1980s showing a group of friends doing some blow and having a blast. Flickr user foundphotoslj writes: "I found these in a red photo album marked 'Darlene' at a swap meet in Huntington Beach, California."
Link (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)

UPDATE: The majority of the photos have been removed.


  1. #2: That is so meta. It’s turning my brain inside out.

    Also, check the size of that rock in the first photo of the originals. That just makes me want to–no!–wrong number–prank caller–prank caller!

  2. Uhm. Apparently the concept of privacy was a minor sociological ripple, lasting only for the brief period between when people became too many to keep track of and when technology enabled us to publicly embarass folks whether we know them or not.

    I don’t consider the revival of back-fence gossip — with everyone sharing the same fence — a particularly good thing. It may discourage folks from making some mistakes, but it also makes living those mistakes down rather difficult. Some youthful indiscretions really should be allowed to be forgotten, or at least not publicised.

    I think we need a rule that says you can’t post someone else’s photos unless you’re willing to make all your own embarassing moment available for public review.

    (Though actually, what I expect is that whoever posted these will find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit — no model release, no right to publish, and posting on the web is publication.)

  3. @10, sigh… kids these days…in the proper KeithMoonian tradition; everything MUST be done to excess.

  4. #13: What mistake? It’s your own judgmental nature that’s the problem. Not “living it down” or any of your holier than thou bullshit. I’ve done things that were that extreme, and I wear my experience like a badge of honor. Lawsuit. Please. Uhm.

  5. maybe ’cause I’m not “american”, but I don’t see the “fun” in the photostream….

  6. I agree with TECHNO GEEK.

    These pictures are listed as found in a swap meet, and the person projects the image that he/she does not know who these people are, nor do they state they received permission to post.

    I don’t think it is right that you would post pictures of someone else without their consent. Would you want someone doing the same to you?

    I agree that whomever posted these finds themselves with a lawsuit. Our society has no respect for privacy of others, which can be shown by America’s obsession with stars, yet we’ll be the first to complain when someone disrupts our own privacy stating that its a different situation but only when it affects you directly. There are no exceptions, every person in this country is entitled to privacy and the person who posted these pictures obviously does not respect that.

  7. Agree with #13. As hilariously awesome as these pics are it does seem like the subjects are being exploited. They’re probably still alive and they have a reasonable right to decide if these photos should have been published.

    Or they may be laughing about it.

  8. there is no basis for successful litigation here since the photos are already extant in several iterations (see link). Any speculative harm to any party that may or may not be actually depicted in these images is removed or diminished by the inability of the general public viewing the images to distinguish what is indeed real record and what has been recently falsified (the aforementioned parodies.)

  9. so because someone made comments on the photo’s that they posted without permission no litigation can follow?

    There are rules on Flickr that clearly state you should not upload photos that are not your own or that you have not taken.

    You own the exclusive rights to photographs that you take and unless you explicitly hand over that right to someone, nobody else has legal control over those photos.

  10. Well, as a creator of one of the parodies, I am glad to have helped protect these guys from litigation.

  11. I’m against the war on drugs and am liberal-minded, but I just discovered that I’m a straight edge:

    I don’t consider cocaine cool, nor do this pictures strike me as anything more special than other vintage pictures. To me, the surprise is that I am the only one commenting on that – I guess cocaine is more accepted and celebrated than I thought.

  12. It seems that whomever decided it was a good idea to do blow AND take photos should have to live with the consequences of such actions. I don’t see that distributing these should be problematic. Besides, this is THE kind of stuff that’d be a fantastic weapon should one of these fine, upstanding citizens decides to go into politics, particularly against the use/possession/etc of narcotics.

    I’d be against the distribution of said photos if they were taken without the persons knowledge or consent, but that certainly isn’t the case in this set.

    Now all we need are a few pictures of Bush with a line. (As if that’d mean anything, anyway.) *sigh*

  13. You lucky kids get to be embarrassed about the stupid crap you did in high school almost immediately with your myspace pages and cell phone videos.

    Us old farts had to wait 20 years.

  14. further, the white, powdery substance which figures prominently in several of the images is in point of fact common, scented, powdered talc – a perfectly legal substance found in almost every home and used as a simulacrum of powdered cocaine hydrochloride for the purposes of creating risible images for entertainment, as was the fashion at the time of the photography. No illegal activity is depicted anywhere in the images, nor is it implicitly condoned.

  15. Things wrong with the ’80’s:

    1) Widespread cocaine use
    2) The “War on Drugs”
    3) Men’s hairstyles

    Unfortunately, one of these things is still with us…

  16. #24 – IMHO you mis-interpret what people find funny about these photos. I don’t read acceptance or celebration of Cocaine in these comments. Seems like people are generally being ironic and snarky. I don’t see any Cocaine cheerleading here. I think you’re taking this a bit seriously.

  17. I’m the guy who slapped the Chutes and Ladders in there. I was also at the party with MaxSparber where the recreation happened and you might argue that those powdered sugar-based recreations also look pretty incriminating without the back story. I like to think our 1980s pals with powdery noses were just getting ready to make some donuts. Chutes and Ladders or donuts. I’m all about the wholesome.

  18. #25 – BS – just because you allow a photo to be taken doesn’t mean you implicitly grant the right to publish, no matter how other people judge your actions. Just because it’s easy these days to publish photos shouldn’t change our right to protect our privacy / image.

  19. I guess the person who posted the photos had some kind of 2nd thoughts. The first time I looked there were a dozen or more photos in the set, now there are only five. (One of them has an identifiable person in it, so I guess they didn’t edit just for face shots). Was gibt?

  20. @#21

    I’m a lawyer too, but sometimes I choose not to speak Pleadings. Try it sometime–hell, try it in your work product–not only is it liberating, but you might find that people actually understand what the hell it is you’re talking about sometimes!

  21. OH cool, let do lines and grind our jaws for 2 hours while conversations consist of clipped, 3 word statements while everyone stares at their shoes. Wait, out of coke already? no problem, just let me run to the ATM, pull out the last of my cash that was earmarked for rent and I’ll be back in a jif…..

    UGH, worst. drug. ever.

  22. Why is it “stupid crap” and an implicitly known “mistake” to do lines? I was strung out on blow for over a year, and it was some of the best times of my life. An experience that most of you, from what I gather, will never have. No, one cannot maintain it, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world–least of all what you conservatives think of as “experiencing life”. Alcohol and cigarettes: Those are legal and thus boring. No one would publish images of people partaking in those much more deadly substances.

    Tom, they’re all three still with us.

  23. All photos of people which were identifiable and “using cocaine”, have been removed. If the people who commented on setting up these photos were so secure in the belief that they did not post anything wrong then they would have left them up.

  24. All photos of people which were identifiable and “using cocaine”, have been removed. If the people who commented on setting up these photos were so secure in the belief that they did not post anything wrong then they would have left them up.

  25. since it is utterly impossible to establish a forensic chain of custody of evidence for these images it must be allowed that they are mainly or wholly synthetic, a chimera of various individuals from stock, public domain photo-imagery, heavily altered by various software applications and thusly resembling any actual person purely by coincidence.

  26. since it is utterly impossible to establish a forensic chain of custody of evidence for these images and if they were all heavily altered by various software applications then why did you remove half of the photos in the set?

    Are all of the other images you found in swap meets on your set altered as well?

    Are you leading us to believe that all the photos in your set are not indeed scans of photos you found but instead the work of some photo-shop savant? And if so why would you remove the work of someone who is obviously so talented in his work?

  27. the cocaine experience: first,as quickly as you can, drink 25 cups of expresso. Then take some very, very find sandpaper and carefully rub the entire surface of the inside of your nose.Lastly, take a great deal of money and tear it all into little bits and hurl them in the air.

    At least, that’s what happened when the gringos got a hold of it. Coca is an important plant to people in South America for daily use. For nutrition, for culture, for spirituality, for history.

    Leave it on the mountainsides and quite spraying poison on it.

  28. @33

    why, why… why you unmitigated BASTARD! Are you calling me a lawyer! I SWEAR, I SWEAR Sir, I will THRASH you with my own hands…..

    If you’ve the belly for it, call your seconds!

  29. #24
    I’m right there with ya. Even looking at the post & responses as irony, they fall flat for me. Watching people snorting cocaine is neither appealing to me nor does it seem remarkable enough to be worth satirizing.

  30. May I further point out that the identity of the person responsible for the initial posting has now also been called into question by various, publicly published allegations by other persons posting here.
    Since no single person is confirming or denying the correctness of these presumptions of identity, it greatly prejudices any establishment of actual identity for purposes of assigning liability for any untoward consequences stemming from the initial posting of the altered images.

  31. #42: Who the hell cares whether they “fall flat” for you, are appealing or not, or seem remarkable? You haven’t done it so how would you know? God, the incredible narcissism.

    Takuan, cocaine is not like espresso. It’s smooth (if you get the good stuff) and can be sensual rather than jittery. You’re thinking of meth. Nor does it destroy the inside of your nose like meth. The money part, though–absolutely. Can’t argue with that.

  32. Maybe some of the photos from the set have been deleted? I don’t see anything that would be considered fun. I was expecting vintage party shots, and got a couple of dull pictures of a guy snorting coke.

  33. don’t get me started on my henry flagler rant…looks like an eightball of cut to me.

  34. I believe the parody is on the 80s itself, not just the use of cocaine, and cocaine is definitely a part of the 80s, just like the prior poster listed.

    I am also put a bit off kilter by this post and the specific way it was presented by boinger pesco, but I didn’t really get as big a rise off of the privacy thing. If you want to keep photos private, don’t let them end up at a swap meet.

    I have plenty of incriminating photos in my own collection and in digital form. None of these are currently at a swap meet. If I sloppily allow them into someone else’s hands, whether they have nefarious plans at the time or not, I am to blame.

    Whether there is a legal case or not, to hell if I know. A man was held on $1mil bond due to a minor infraction two decades old. The law is idiotic.

  35. #34: “OH cool, let do lines and grind our jaws for 2 hours while conversations consist of clipped, 3 word statements while everyone stares at their shoes.”

    what the hell? are you sure that was blow, buddy?? no offense, but maybe you were with a group of people who didn’t trust each other or felt dirty about it or something?

  36. Why do we so often feel the need to take the fun out of things? The pictures are of people from 25 years ago doing something fun and stupid. How could that degenerate into the pitiful legalistic discussion that ensued?

    The pictures were from a junk sale. The people who took them put them in a photo album! That’s weird and interesting. What happened to them? Are they boring old people now having legalistic discussions on the internet? Or did the album owner OD and the pictures have been lying around unwanted for 25 years? Is someone in there someone people visiting flickr/BB might know?

    No one is going to sue anyone over found pictures. It’s sad that is right where some people went with this cool and interesting find. They’re history at this point. If the people are embarrassed, they will just have to man up to what they did 25 years ago. There are 25-year old pictures of me having had way too much Wild Turkey out there in plenty of hands. If they end up on the internet, I’ll laugh and say man look how thin I was. Lighten up, Francis.

  37. Notice the delorean in the poster hanging on the wall in image #5. Also, if anyone knows where to get the mirror they are using i would love to be informed. I believe that would be my favorite mousepad ever. Feel free to contact me.


  38. Awesome!

    Twenty years from now, people will be laughing in much the same way at “found” vintage YouTube footage of folks on Salvia divinorum.

  39. He he… I just realized if you check out the posts I’ve made on boing boing..I’m a hot tranny mess!

  40. #52: Totally. That person is clueless. Sounds more like acid.

    #56: So now a tranny mess can still be hot? Ok, I’ll go with it.

    BTW, doing lines off of mirrors is so 80’s, so old school. We gave up caring about that shit a long time ago. It way turned into just CD cases, the countertop, whatever. Just spill it.

  41. I’m surprised they got away with it in the 80s as you had to send the film off for processing.* With digital cameras there must be loads of pictures of dodgy stuff floating about.

    *I remember a news story about a couple of adulterers killing the husband and taking pictures of themselves dismembering his body holding the decapitated head up by the hair etc. The photo processing place dobbed them in. I have no idea how to search for the source though. It happened in the states and involved bike gangs/Motorcyclists as far as I remember.

  42. I was able to see all the pics earlier today, but would like to share with some friends. Anyone get a chance to save them and post them elsewhere?

  43. I used to work in a photo lab in Boston in the mid 90s and would get shots like this all the time. People always shoot photos at parties, forget what they shot, and drop off the film with some high school student. I always passed everything along, no questions asked, but at another branch of the chain, they had a lounge in the basement of the store and the walls were covered in photos swiped from customers’ rolls. Back before the internet, those photos were pretty amazing to me.

  44. eloquent summary gatetree, thank you for reinstating my faith in humanity. and thanks to other levelheads as well. here’s something for all you kids under the impression that flake is a seventies and 80’s thing.

  45. Hello, the pictures have been removed from Flickr. Does anyone knows a mirror URL? I couldn’t watch them :(

  46. i run a curiosity shop.
    i get peoples old photos all the time. weird ones, pornographic ones, inexplicable ones. i keep those all for myself and sell off the rest.

    the few times i’ve done coke, i was like “awww, where’d did my nice whiskey and grass buzz go ?”

  47. This is the 2ND post in a row that bizzarly lacks a coffee table where there should be one.

  48. #57:yes, it’s good to have granite counters

    why were the photos removed? i so wanted to see them.

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