once again using my pal, Bill's painting studio and home high in the hills above Santa Barbara as a point of departure, I began the ninety minute drive to LA.....as I drove south away from the blissful climate and overindulged, upscale comforts of S.B, I remember thinking that this picture making effort would not be as productive probably as San Diego was 4 years ago because now this was just "another california political convention" ..and I had been to LA so many times, venice beach, compton, the "welcome home the troops" parade in west hollywood, the OJ trial, beverly hills ..for once I felt as if I had over covered my favorite location .. As was the case in San Diego, my first image was of a cluster of cops preparing to do business. Unlike the sanitized San Diego version, these guys looked gnarly, tough and ominous, even at a glance ..heavily armed and wearing the appearance of intimidation ..LA's finest set the tone for the day and the new generation lefties carried the flags of dissent Haden and Nader seemed to be mostly ignored, upstaged by young, bandana 'd political gangsters and a band called rage against the machine .
So .LA is still the promised land, a curiosity . a cautionary, mythological place at the end of the american road. The political theater I describe here with these images is as unpredictable, impatient and ambiguous as the city they were made in and the process by which they were made. That is not to say that there is no truth to the photographic facts that appear here, only that they are informed by the dramatic, spontaneous and robust energy of place, time and circumstance.
Consider the picture of the L.A. cop stepping off of the curbside. An image made extraordinary only by a certain gesture of the hands and a seemingly arrogant turn of the head that reminds us, the myth of an american male is still a possibility.
It seems that american political traditions bear this sort of description.
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