Snapshots L.A.

Leaving Life In The Shadows

I was sorry all day yesterday that I was going to miss photographing the May Day demonstrations. I had an afternoon Tai Chi Class in Alhambra. But, when I stepped off the bus at Union Station I heard a celebration going on at La Placita Olvera. The first group of people I encountered is immediately below.

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I was struck by the happiness and exuberance of everyone I saw. I wanted to record that.

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There are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. It is a life in the shadows. Try imagining it.

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To be young, gifted, and undocumented. Our country is losing a lot when we ignore this issue.

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One of the concerns with immigration deportations is that families are being separated. Apart from resolving the current situation, we might ask ourselves as a people the following question. “Really, why did we look the other way when millions of people were pouring into the country and performing cheap labor?”

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And finally there is the irony of the following image. Please look at the founding date of the church and then remember a little California history.

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All Photography Copyright John Fritzlen

METRO BUS 78 TOWARDS ALHAMBRA

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 I am often struck by the rich variety of  interior worlds that appear in the bus window. I remind myself that I have no idea what those worlds actually are other than what immediately arise as my own projections. And, of course, much depends on the surrounding light and colors, as well as other triggers.

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All Photography Copyright John Fritzlen

CHINATOWN - BROADWAY

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A new building goes up directly across from the Chinese Senior Center and just inside the Golden Dragons entrance. Beautiful Spring day. Late afternoon. Behind me, women were doing Qigong in the Center courtyard.

METRO BUS 78 TOWARDS ALHAMBRA

Continuing to take photographs from the Bus. The light changes. People change, reconfigure, cause wonder.

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METRO BUS 78 TOWARDS ALHAMBRA

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I go out to Alhambra three times a week for a Tai Chi Class. It’s a great class with a superb teacher. Here’s a link if you are interested in taking it up.

www.tai-ji.net/ 

I began by driving, but then took a big breath when gas went above $4.40 a gallon. Freeway traffic also does a real twist on my general frame of mind. So I looked up the bus schedules.

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Discovered. No time lost.Someone else does the driving. Lots of money saved for something else.

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I read. Practice. People watch. Take pictures.

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These photos were taken last week as rain and evening approached. The trip was as good as the class.

All Photographs Copyright John Fritzlen

THE ONGOINGNESS OF MADNESS

After the insanity and sorrow of last week’s massacre in Connecticut, my neighborhood got it’s own call with a twisted mind. Someone phoned police headquarters four times  during the early morning Tuesday Dec.18 claiming there was a bomb planted in the police car parked in front of the local elementary school - a block and a half down from my place. The car had been there for several days as an indication of police presence. The school is directly across from a hotel catering to Korean guests. Packed as usual.

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The police car is parked on the right against the curb. Dogs, Robots, Firemen, Ambulances, Police, Trucks of all kinds. Streets sealed off. Buses rerouted. Traffic nuts. People frightened. Not much information given out. People standing in front of their houses behind the yellow tape. One thing - you got a chance to meet the neighbors you hadn’t met previously.

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The smaller machine on the left is a robot that will go to the car, smash a window, stick a camera inside, then break open the trunk and check that out. Force the hood, look at the engine. The big truck is empty at this point. Someone inside a van somewhere was running the little guy.

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This picture was taken from the roof of my building after all of the neighborhood was kept inside (yup, the police told you to go back in if you came out). The school was empty. The hotel guests and workers moved to the back of the top floor. The robot is moving up to do its job. An armored dump truck has been moved in close to the car.

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Bomb squad member checks again after the robot - and the truck has lifted the car. No bomb.

Many public workers - firemen, police, bomb squad - for four or five hours. Traffic snarled. This is not the first time our neighborhood is searched. A large luxury condo building at Western and Wilshire - -bomb search - bank buildings - the metro underground ….you get the idea.

All Photographs Copyright John Fritzlen