Now available through BEYOND THE STREETS:
Legendary photographer Estevan Oriol's LA Fingers on metallic and galvanized papers.
In 1995, Chicano street photographer Estevan Oriol held a new-famous photo session in which he asked a Latina model with a fierce set of claws to arrange her bling-gilded fingers in the shape of two letters: L and A.
Her black, pillowy lips pouting in the background, the image present a mesmerizing, defiant, symbol of West Coast pride, steeped in lowrider culture, baggy pants, mamacitaswith pencil-thin brows, homies smoking the chronic and mi vida loca, signaled in three dots tattooed under a gang-banger’s eye.
It reclaimed the typography of the Hollywood sign, whitewashed and serene above the Hollywood Hills homes of the rich, and reworked for the gardeners, maids, miscellaneous Latino laborers upon whose shoulders the city still rests.
It reimagined the Dodgers’ interlocking L.A. symbol, the lower bar of the L acting as the crossbar of the A since the late 1950’s, back when construction of Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine bulldozed Mexican ranches and decades of Chicago heritage with them.
Not since the palm tree, the smoggy freeway or the lonely Hockney swimming pool had one image so succinctly captured the essence of Los Angeles - the brown Los Angeles of the latter 20th century inaccessible and forbidden until Oriol (with its full blessing) delivered it to us.