“There is no question that the Americans are vagabonds,” said Dennis Stock, “Our highway system and size makes it very attractive to ‘truck on down’.” He was speaking in reference to Road People, a 1971 documentary photography project focused on hitchhikers and other people he came across on the United States’ famous open roads, but he revealed something of his own wanderlust when he went on to say, “Many of us take to the road in motorhomes, trailers, on motorcycles or by hitchhiking. This itch to see ‘what is over the hill’ is something that I can easily relate to as a photographer.”

Stock’s own restlessness drew him to the highways in the 1960s, when he drove through California, taking in the unique, heady spirit of the place, and photographing the curious characters he met along the way, from cult leaders, to hippies, off-duty actors, nudists and countless other free spirits that are drawn to the state.

Dennis Stock joined Magnum Photos in 1951.

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox