News / Arts & Entertainment

Street Photographer Documents Urban Life, Art

Street Photographer Documents Urban Life, Arti
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Mike O'Sullivan
August 01, 2013 10:35 PM
Some Los Angeles photographers are documenting the life and urban art of their city. As Mike O'Sullivan reports, photographer Erwin Recinos focuses his camera on LA's street culture, with its decorated cars and graffiti art.
Mike O'Sullivan
Some Los Angeles photographers are documenting the life and urban art of their city.  Photographer Erwin Recinos focuses his camera on LA's street culture, with its decorated cars and graffiti art.

Recinos crouches to get a photograph of lowriders at a neighborhood auto show. 

Lowriders are classic cars that are customized to sit close to the ground, almost touching the road.  American auto models from 40 or 50 years ago, some even older, are modified by car clubs in LA's Hispanic communities, and Recinos captures the images with his iPhone and camera for a project by local photographers.

“A lot of these car clubs have been around for about 50 or 60 years.  So what you're looking for is cultural influences in the community," he said.

In an industrial neighborhood, Recinos strolls down alleys where street graffiti artists have decorated warehouses with colorful murals, sometimes two stories high.  Graffiti is often considered a blight, but some artists get approval from building owners, who are happy to add color to their downtown neighborhood.  

Recinos says inner city artists comprise one of many cultures of Los Angeles.

“Different neighborhoods of surf culture, skate culture, gang culture, car culture, graffiti culture," he said.

The online photography project, called Snapshot Galleria, documents these cultures.  

Recinos says he loves to work downtown, where even decorated trash containers draw his attention.

“They sometimes have art work, and I just love the way that the dumpster played in the scenery of the background," said Recinos.

He says Los Angeles is rich with images.  On a photo shoot in a downtown park, he spies a group of rugged-looking pit bulls, walking with their owners in a dog training class.  He stops to take a picture.

He says such unexpected sights can result in a great image.

“You never know what's going to happen.  You've just got to go with it," he said.

He says these photos provide a glimpse of the sometimes gritty life of a colorful city.

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