Found in the archive - "Sonny" Barger of the Hells Angels

While fishing around in my archive, I came across this rare chrome from one of those assignments you were not sure about once you read the subjects name.

  Ralph Hubert  "Sonny"  Barger  -  ©1988 Peter DaSilva

Ralph Hubert "Sonny" Barger - ©1988 Peter DaSilva

Ralph Hubert "Sonny" Barger, who was a founding member (1957) of the Oakland, California, U.S. chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. It was to make a portrait of Barger on his 50th birthday back in 1988 at his custom motorcycle shop in Oakland, CA. At first I was hesitant, especially during the walk from the entrance of the shop to the counter to ask for Sonny. I think it was the searing stares I got until Barger came out and advised his crew I was OK. The shoot went smoothly and he was gracious and pleasant to work with. But shortly after that shoot, Barger was found guilty of conspiring to blow up the clubhouse of a rival motorcycle club, The Outlaws in Louisville, Kentucky and spent four years in a federal prison in Arizona.

As I look back, I realize how special this opportunity was and glad I got to meet and photograph such a major figure in the history of the Hells Angels.