For the past ten days, my buddy had been walking the streets of LA shooting for the second “You Are Here” exhibition, which will be held at the Think Tank Gallery in downtown LA next week, on Valentine’s Day. Have a peek into David Valera‘s work and the Think Tank’s press release about this project. For this project, David used the Fuji X-Pro 1 with a Fujinon 35mm f/1.4, the Olympus OMD-EM5 combined with Pany/Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4 and the Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Many miles underfoot walking the streets of L.A., workshops and get-togethers, many of the first “You Are Here” artists have since become acquaintances and good friends. The one thing I’ve discovered with street photography in Los Angeles is the close-knit community willing to share experiences, tips and tricks, encouragement as well as friendly competition. There is an unspoken bond but the biggest inspiration is helping each other motivate off our couches and computer desks. Photos aren’t going to materialize by themselves sitting at home.
I’m excited to have been selected as one of the 32 photographers to participate in this year’s 2013 “You Are Here II” photographic art exhibit. The controversial theme is “Shoot A Cop” with the underlying title of “Celebration of the Boys in Blue”. I must admit I was taken aback by the title but the more I thought and meditated about the theme, I feel the challenges and experiences will help push my photography to another level. Hell, I don’t think I would ever have done a Ride-Along with the infamous Shootin’ Newton Division through South Central Los Angeles if it weren’t for this exhibition. 20 minutes from most Los Angelenos doorsteps, I’ve seen some amazing and unusual things these policemen encounter and deal with on a daily basis.
The recent situation with ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner has garnered some uneasy press but my hope is the gallery reception (February 14th 2013 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.) will shed a positive light towards the LAPD. At least that is my intention.
The following is from the Think Tank Gallery “You Are Here II” press release:
With a long list of photographers who applied for the show knowing only that they would have one month to shoot and print photos in an undisclosed area of Los Angeles and with an undisclosed subject matter, details were released to accepted participants on January 14th. Like part I, 32 photographers were chosen to photograph the same area; some were chosen beforehand to act as “featured” talent and most applied for portfolio review, but all were left in the dark as to this subject matter that revolves around Los Angeles law enforcement until the day of the beginning of time to shoot and print photos.
The theme for YOU ARE HERE II came from the desire to expand upon what was learned in the first such experiment; that is, when tasking 32 talented individuals to train their cameras on the same subjects for an extended amount of time, a certain degree of meditation was necessitated upon the photographers. This meditation, however subjective to each individual, forced them to contemplate the meaning, history, and public perception of those subjects. While the subjects in part I may just have been the people within a certain area, Think Tank Gallery knew that in evolving this project a more meaningful theme would have to be established. The result was YOU ARE HERE II: Shoot a Cop – a Celebration of our Boys in Blue.
Photographers have not been guided as to the nature of their photos, and even some may choose to arrange fictional scenes or edit their photos howsoever they please. Think Tank Gallery hopes only to enforce a meditation on the theme, not to decide what that expression may be. The exhibition is a pursuit of truth on contemporary law enforcement. Shoot a Cop will also include painting by street artist Kaleb Higgins and a performance/food installation piece by gallerist Jacob Patterson and special effects makeup artist Eric Fox, as well as an immersive installation by sculptor Brandon Muñoz. The show is curated by YOU ARE HERE part I participants and professional photographers Rinzi Ruiz and Jordan Dunn. Free donuts for first 200 guests on opening night!
The map that outlines the area in which participants must shoot is defined by the area of the following riots that have shaped the public and media perception of LA law enforcement: Chinatown Massacre of 1871, Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, Watts Riots of 1965, Sunset Strip riots of 1966, and the LA Riots of 1992. Also contained within this area are the Lakers Championship riots at Staples Center in 2000 and 2010, and the Hollywood Skateboard Riot of 2012, as well as the ongoing Occupy LA protests. This map is available upon request. The featured and participating photographers are as follows: Mark Rosales, Dana Barshun, Ben Molina, Mehdi Bouqua, Ibarionex Perello, Brian Sokolowski, Bret Higham, Rinzi Ruiz, Jordan Dunn, Hector Isaac, Roger Clay, Romeo Doneza, Ton Roque, Jimmy Baxan, Julianna Lacoste, Alex Gitman, David Valera, Walter Morataya, Adrian Augusto, Katharine Hargreaves, Leopoldo Peña, Edgar Herrera, Tom Szabadi, George Byrne, Brian Quisido, Norman Estrologo, Samantha Trauben, Erin Xavier and Willie Gomez.