Wednesday, February 24, 2010

crenshaw boulevard + martin luther king, jr. boulevard (I)


MLK Boulevards around America get a bad rap. They run through poorer areas, forming scar lines across neighborhoods with histories of gentrification and racial tension. Chris Rock has cracked jokes about the street name, saying "it ain't the safest place to be." All this criticism seems unfair + overly harsh; just minutes from the location in this photo, for example, you can find The Jim Gillian Recreation Center, of LA's nicest parks featuring tennis courts, soccer pitches, baseball diamonds, and putting greens, as well as the massive Crenshaw Plaza shopping mall. Here at street level, however, it's a tough sell — seven lanes flow fast + furious past long, "dead" stretches of buildings that either lack interfaces for foot traffic or sit aloof behind intimidating parking setbacks, effectively killing street life. And everyone knows that a lack of street life breeds suspicion + fear, like the street crosser hiding his face in the before photo, or the mistrustful bus-watcher to his right. I'm just a photographer, people — and if I were one among hundreds of people on another, better-populated street, you wouldn't even give me a second glance. See it narrowed!
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About the Photographer

Los Angeles, CA, United States
Writer, designer, and urban planning geek.

Got a location idea or photo submission? Send it to hello@davidyoon.com. I'll post it to the blog or even run out to shoot it myself.

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