Published Apr 8, 2009

LA has a major clothing industry (à la American Apparel) and everyone here dresses snappy-like, so I probably should’ve been to the Garment District1 more than two times since I came out here. There was that one time during college, when I think I expected to get some actual everyday clothes there and was, instead, baffled by the cheap t-shirts and couture. I also went on Saturday, to meet my extremely talented friend and walk around and shoot for a few hours. Because, you know, photography’s like everything else; the more you do it, the better you are at it.

A good shooting assignment is always followed by some tough editing, but I’ll admit that I love the editing part. Throwing out the chaff — about 50% of the whole — is easy enough, but what’s a real challenge is picking the cream from the milk.2 I got this shoot down from 160-some to 37, but there were 4 or 5 close-run things, and I might’ve kept too many architecture shots (more typical subject matter for me) and too few people and clothes shop. You be the judge.

I was drawn to the people in the garment district as much as I was to the clothes. Maybe it was all the hard work on a Saturday morning? Of course, the bad part about photographing people on the street is that you don’t tend to realize what you just saw walking buy until they’re past you; that makes for a lot of photos of peoples’ backs. Occasionally they work out.

Of course, the clothes were something to look at too! By and large they ranged from tasteless to awful, but with such flair and confidence in style that, well, they were fun. The Russians didn’t want me shooting any of the fancy get-ups they had on their mannequins, even the ones out on the sidewalk, but I never got a single complaint from a Latino vendor. Anyway, there’s just so much panache below that I really want the one with the sunglasses.

Almost as good as the people is the stunning local means of conveyance, brightly-painted three-wheeled electric carts. Incredible-smelling electric carts they are too; who doesn’t want bacon-wrapped sausages with grilled onions and peppers? It was torture from breakfast until I left for a much lower-fat lunch on the Westside.

While the photo of the shop that sold nothing but tiaras didn’t come out well, accessories are well-represented downtown too. It’s hard to figure out how to shoot a lot of these things; either they’re behind glass and you’re fighting reflections, or they’re not fancily-merchandised and there’s no obvious shot. I suppose that means that I need to learn some composition. Anyway, I’m sorry that the photo of the gas mask bong didn’t come out.

Of course, for me, the lure of shooting architecture was irresistible. The Garment District is in the old-fashioned Downtown heart of LA, and we just don’t get enough good, classic, East Coast-style buildings on the Westside here. You know, the kind that were built with care by actual craftsmen, rather than just being the cheapest thing you can make with plywood and sheetrock. Sometimes makes me wish I lived Downtown.

But, then, if I lived Downtown, there’d be the issue with the sausages. It’s like when I decided not to go to Penn because I knew I’d get fat off the cheese steaks.

Darn it, now I’m hungry again!

1 Formerly: Garment District. Now: Fashion District. Not sure it’s all that Women’s Wear Daily-ready…

2 Consider that metaphor mixed!


hot shots, Hot Shot!

Thanks! You wanna come join us next time we go out shooting? You know Flickr would like it…