Mass Transit Recordings from Los Angeles, 2005-2015 Format: 35mm
“Yes indeedy, I wrote graffiti on the Bus, first I’d write her name and carve a plus…” “Passin’ Me By”, The Pharcyde
Over the course of my time living in Los Angeles, I’ve had several different relationships with public transportation in the city. My first impression was one of wonder. I have fond memories of my mother and I taking the RTD Downtown to buy toy robots in Little Tokyo. I also remember taking the Venice bus with my older sisters to the beach. That bus was always really crowded on the hottest days, jam packed with families seeking a break from the heat. There is always so much written about L.A. car culture that I think the experiences of so many residents go overlooked.
By the time I was in high school, that initial wonder had transformed into inspiration, fueled by the explosion of bus graffiti in the 90’s. Everyday after school at Fairfax High, the kids would basically get on the buses and commence to destroy them. There were all sorts of crews going for theirs and certain lines were prized over others. It was a time of chaotic, raw expression that few understood and even less experienced. Unfortunately the focus eventually shifted from graffiti to violence but for a time, it was all about the art and it was dope.
As an adult, my connection to the MTA was one of necessity but it also played a huge part in my creative endeavors. As I worked my way through school, sometimes it felt like I was on the bus more than anywhere else. Being that I always had a camera on me as well, I was able to really study my surroundings and construct a unique approach to photographing them. These photographs span over a decade, selected to convey some of the beauty that can be found taking public transportation in Los Angeles.