This is the second part of my trip to Los Angeles, last Friday. If you are interested in any of the technical details, I speak to that in the previous article.
I met with Rick Smith, at Union Station, and we roamed the streets to the Southwest of there, to about Olympic. On the return, to Union Station, we stopped at the Grand Central Market.
It was early afternoon, and the Grand Central Market was very busy. Many of the vendors had lines, and most of the tables were occupied. Here, two LAPD Traffic Officers were taking a break — but traffic was flowing smoothly, as it usually does, when these guys don’t interfere. — OK, just a civilian’s observation — no hard data. 🙂 Damn, now I’m gonna get a ticket!! Anyway, I love the facial expressions — and this is exactly why I don’t always ask for permission before I make a photo.
Usually, I like to record the interactions between customers and vendors, but this guy had such a good smile. He saw the camera about the same time the camera saw him.
Eggslut — this place seems to always have a line.
Across from Eggslut, at Press Brothers Juicery, we found these two ‘baristas’.
You know, by now, that I like candid images. So this is what happens if you ask if you can make a portrait:
She took a break and came out from behind the counter — then spent her time looking at Rick’s pics of tattooed ladies.
Refreshed from our smoothies, we found some hard working guys, in the afternoon sun, who would have probably enjoyed those cool drinks.
Across from LA City Hall, is Grand Park. I was waiting for Rick when I noticed a gentleman sitting on a bench, so I took a photo of his reflection in a window. He caught my attention when he adjusted his hat, so I just reacted and took a shot.
In street photography, it’s important to always be ready, and to capture anything that you find interesting. Often, this isn’t the best angle, exposure, light, etc., so you keep looking. I thought there might be more to this guy’s story, so I moved around to talk with him. As I began to speak, I drew a blank look that quickly turned to a stare, so, since I didn’t seem to be making a friend, I switched to Spanish. Viola! He began to talk — in English. I sat beside him and found out than his name is Robert. Born in Burbank, California, he moved to Boyle Heights (East LA) at age 5. In his teenage years, he “got in with the wrong crowd, got in trouble, and did his joint time.” Joint time — like it was a right of passage that everyone went through. After prison, he got married, but she wanted more that he could give, so back to the wrong crowd, the joint, she left … He spent time on skid row, but now has his own room in a city managed program. He is clean and sober. There are three bathrooms, and a common kitchen on his floor.
The smile — well, it was really a hardy laugh. I asked him if there were ever any pretty girls in that kitchen. “Not that I’ve seen”, he said, while laughing out loud. We talked another few minutes, and then, out of the blue, “Not that I’ve seen”, again bursting into a loud laugh. 🙂 I enjoyed hearing about Robert’s life and the pride he seemed to feel in turning it around — even if there was still a long path, in front of him.
Crossing through the plaza at Olvera Street, we heard some Andean Music, and saw this gang hanging out under a shade tree. You can spend the whole day in this area — the original settlement of what became Los Angeles — but you can also miss your train home, so we headed across the street to the station.
With just enough time to grab something to drink, hit the restroom, and get on the first train back to OC, I got a window seat by the cleanest dirty window. This last photo is not exactly a prize winner, but I needed something to close the story. I’m looking through a dirty window, into his dirty window. We are going in opposite directions, but, maybe we’ll pass again!
Note to self: As summer approaches, park in the shaded structure at Irvine, rather than the open lot in Santa Ana.