The LA parking lot becomes a screening room for street photography – hyperallergic | Episode Movies

On a chilly Saturday night, a parking lot in Los Angeles’ Chinatown was transformed into a makeshift screening room when photographs documenting street life in the massive city were projected onto the back of a four-story building. With helicopters circling overhead and a light rain falling, the assembled crowd of photographers and photo enthusiasts watched a 45-minute slideshow that ranged from surfers in Venice and the hustle and bustle of Union Station to lowrider and motorcycle clubs, the LA riot of 1992 and the protests of 2020 led to street vendors, a horse ranch, wildfires and the homeless.

Titled project LAthe program featured the work of 35 street, documentary, news and student photographers who formed a composite portrait of the city’s dynamic and dense urban fabric.

“This is LA,” Vic Brown, one of the participating photographers, told Hyperallergic. “LA has a reputation for glitz and glamor, but this is an innovative attempt to revolutionize how we view art. What better way to do that than in a downtown Los Angeles parking lot, the heart of the city.”

Ringo Chiu an project LA, October 22, 2022 (Photo Matt Stromberg/Hyperallergic)

project LA, held on October 22, was the first public event hosted by the LA Project, an organization that brings together emerging and established photographers to capture Los Angeles at a pivotal time in its evolution. It was founded in 2021 by Julia Dean, a photographer, educator and former executive director of the Los Angeles Center for Photography who has been documenting life in downtown LA with her camera for over a decade. Accompanying the demonstration was a five-day street photography workshop led by Dean at the Leica Academy of America and a selection of prints by project LA is donated to the Los Angeles Central Library collection and becomes part of the public record of city life.

A photo from the series by Julia Dean Jose Hernandez: The Guardian of the Alley (Screenshot Valentina Di Licia/Hyperallergic via The LA Project)

The photographers of project LA Showcasing the city’s diverse communities, landscapes, and individuals, zoom in from scenic subjects like Frank Gehry’s gleaming Disney Concert Hall and the historic theaters of Broadway, to deep insights into specific scenes, people, and events.

A photo of Estevan Oriol (Screenshot Valentina Di Licia/Hyperallergic via The LA Project)

Julia Dean’s own contribution, a series entitled Jose Hernandez: The Guardian of the Alley, is an intimate portrait of homelessness that focuses on a person’s daily life. Acclaimed photographer Estevan Oriol’s work ranges from underground to celebrity, reflecting Latinx lowrider and tattoo scenes, as well as well-known figures such as Snoop Dogg. Ted Soqui juxtaposes his photos of the 1992 LA riot that followed the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King trial with photos taken 30 years later in the exact same spots with the same cameras, lenses and film. Fire, smoke and debris are replaced by mundane shopping malls, houses and construction sites, a ubiquitous feature of rapidly developing LA.

Contemporary developments of the last few years are presented in in-depth series, e.g Catch Covid through Los Angeles Times Photographer Francine Orr, who focuses on the fear, loss and hope experienced in hospitals during the early pandemic. Ringo Chiu looks back on the pivotal events of 2020, turning his camera to the emergence of COVID, record-breaking wildfires and the protests following the killing of George Floyd.

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Los Angeles might not be the first city that springs to mind when you hear the term “street photography” – cities like New York, Chicago, Paris and London, teeming with pedestrians, are more commonly associated with the genre brought. With its seemingly endless patchwork of neighborhoods intertwined into a serpentine network of highways, Los Angeles has a reputation as a city where roads are vectors of mobility, not places where life is lived. While it’s true that unlike the older examples on the East Coast and in Europe, there is no contiguous “center,” this is a view captured by the Freeway’s isolation and fuzziness. Choosing to exit and slow down brings into focus the diversity and richness of the myriad communities that make up the LA metropolitan area.

Photo by Matthew Nordman (Screenshot Valentina Di Licia/Hyperallergic via The LA Project)

“When I discovered street photography as an art form, it was very East Coast-ish,” photographer Louis White told Hyperallergic at the event. He says encountering Dorothea Lange’s work helped him broaden his perspective. “That was The opposite of shooting in a big city, but still very similar because at the end of the day, street photography is all about human connections.”

at project LA., students and professional photographers shared insights into different corners of the city, from the stands of Santee Alley to skateboarders on the beach. Fortunately, the Hollywood sign is nowhere to be seen.

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