Every person on 6th Street

Back in June, I met an incredible person named Andre Dekker, an artist from Rotterdam who came to Los Angeles to speak at the LA Design Festival. Andre’s work focuses on the intersection between art, landscape, and public space, and once he learned about my interests, we got to talking about—what else?—walking in LA.

He mentioned that he wanted to take a long walk while in town so I brainstormed some potential itineraries with him. When he said he was supposed to go to LACMA the next day, we agreed that would be the perfect walk: an easy six miles from the Standard downtown (where he was staying) to the Miracle Mile. He promised to report back.

As he walked the next day, Andre documented his stroll and these are his photos. I absolutely love these shots. Not only do they beautifully demonstrate that yes, people do indeed use the sidewalks in LA, they’re a wonderful testament to the diversity of Los Angeles street life, from the food vendors of MacArthur Park to the strip malls of Koreatown to the manicured hedges of Park La Brea.

I asked Andre to write something about the experience to illustrate his photos, all of which you can see in the gallery below (you can click any image to enlarge, then scroll through the images using the arrows below the photos).

What to do on a first visit to LA? If I were to take a bus, I would have had to know where to go.  What did I know beforehand? What did people tell me? In LA nobody walks, never try, too big, only car space.

Since I do not have a car or a bike here, there is only one option: to walk. When you start walking, the destination is there right from the start. So I left the hotel through the west side entrance and was going to walk until I had seen a cross section of the unknown city.

After 5 minutes I found myself making pictures of every intersection. Everything unknown had my interest. I had no criterium. What was the plan going to be? Walking and making pictures of walking. A simple task, allowing me to focus my attention. The criterium was: one walk and all man in the street.

I thougt of the artists I know for their street photography. Their work is considered conceptual, humane, artistic, random, social, critical, emotional or formal. I had no other intention than to observe the city, while enjoying a casual alertness to my fellow man. And what I would see, could maybe be of use in the panel talk on public art and place making for the LA Design Festival.

Back in Rotterdam, I have selected 33 pictures that show the faces, clothes, behaviors and postures of 64 people walking the south sidewalk of Sixth in LA between 9:30 am and 12:15 pm on June 15th, 2011.

Thanks to Andre Dekker for sharing this awesome photo essay with me.

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