Los Angeles Volume 1.
Photographs and text by Larry Clark.
Luhring Augustine / Simon Lee, New York / London, 2007. 93 pp., 48 Four Color Illustrations., 11¾x12½".
Los Angeles 2003-2006 reflects the artist's life-long interest in the subject of today's
youth within a marginalized urban environment. In this particular body of work, we
witness the physical transformation of Jonathan Velasquez throughout the period of his
adolescent years. Jonathan, a teenager living in South Central Los Angeles whom the
artist encountered by chance, inspired Clark to write and direct the film Wassup
Rockers. In this obsessive four year photographic chronicle of Jonathan's life, we
experience not so much the unfolding of a series of portraits but rather the weaving of
the subject's personal life within the context of a particular social milieu common to so
many of today's urban youth subcultures.
Building upon Larry's previous photographic accomplishments beginning with Tulsa,
Teenage Lust, 1992, the Perfect Childhood, punk Picasso, and in film with Kids, Bully,
Ken Park and Wassup Rockers this series of photographs further probes with equal
intensity and unabashed honesty the often subtle, often glaring changes that all youth,
and in particular Jonathan, go through in their teenage years. The close-up shots, the full
length frontal views, the groupings of Jonathan with his friends all combine to portray the
vulnerability as well as the subjects’ expressions of newfound individuality, vitality and
independence of life style. The large scale pigment prints reflect a departure for Clark
from the more spare and documentary sensibility that characterize his earlier work, and
in so doing allow for a more tender and evocative exploration of his subject.