Charles Brittin (1928–2011) was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1944, where he attended high school in the Fairfax district before enrolling at UCLA where he first discovered photography. While a student, he attended underground film screenings at the Coronet Theater and took pictures near his home in Venice and Ocean Park. He met Wallace and Shirley Berman in 1955 and began photographing their close circle of artists, musicians, and poets, who gathered at venues such as Semina Gallery in Larkspur, Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Venice West Café in Venice. In the 60s, Brittin became more involved with political activism, joining the Campaign for Racial Equality and other movements. He documented the social unrest that characterized the postwar decades, most notably the Artist Peace Tower (1966), constructed in protest of the Vietnam War.