When I was just a child, I recall my mother always taking me to a grocery store on 5th and Western Ave. Known then as Gaju market (now California market place), a tall figure would always come by looming over me yet always reassured me with a smile and a gentle pat on the head in the parking lot. He was the security guard assigned to that plaza, but he wasn't just an ordinary security guard. He was quite charismatic. He'd always crack jokes in the lot giving smiles to everyone around, shouted orders with a distinct grit, all while directing traffic with his whistle time to time. I distinctly recall his gold plated, spit shine quality badge which matched his aviators that shined just as hard. He also never revealed his eyes which always made me that much more curious about his real identity. His personality was very impactful due to these specific traits which really made him stand out in the community.
His uniform was sharp, with every piece ironed to the T, but his presence had always given me a great sense of safety. Looking back at it now, his demeanor made perfect sense. He was a man of service.
I've always believed that servitude in its highest calling is when one is willing to sacrifice ones own life for another.
I remembered how terrified I was in 92’ when the riots occurred. My mom held my younger sister and I in close proximity on the floor of the apartment living room, and I could recall her looking over at me and gesturing her finger over her mouth whispering to me to keep quiet. I didn't budge. I was afraid to death. So afraid that I still remember to this day of the impact it caused on April 29th of 1992, which is also shared with my mother's birthday. I knew something terrible was happening as the helicopter lights were flashing in and out of our window as the mic shouted orders which I couldn't make out.
This went on for hours throughout the entire night. I had never been so desperate for my father's protection before in my entire life as I looked around with my mother in hopes of his presence only to find he was nowhere to be found. Years later I come to find out, he was out to protect what he loved, alongside so many others serving to protect a community which he held so dear to his heart.
This series is an homage to those who serve and secure in plain sight, and also for those which keep the life and community to grow who hardly ever get any recognition for all the countless years put in with their jobs which continue to sustain the joy and love that has made this very special part of Los Angeles what it has become today. (35mm analog)