Welcome to The Hood
I had only been in the new North Park apartment for a month or two in early summer 1997 when one afternoon the calm of the neighborhood was interrupted by multiple sirens tearing down the street outside. They passed my apartment on Lincoln Avenue going east, then the loud scream of tires sliding on a turn followed by the noise of a car colliding with something immoveable. The sound was right outside my open front door, the security screen still closed to allow for ventilation. I immeditely grabbed my Nikon which was still laying on my desk after a previous night shooting clubs, or “out-and-about” as I used to call it, and ran down the stairs toward where the commotion was last heard.
When I reached the corner Iowa Street and Lincoln Avenue, two addresses east of my apartment’s alley, the police had the handcuffed driver and hustling him into a squad car. While being chased he’d taken the corner too wide at speed and the car he drove had bounced off one of the 60-foot-tall palm trees lining the street. As I shot the one photo left on my roll of film he looked right at me and shouted with an Hispanic accent, “Stop taking photos!”
That was it. I was out of film. After they came back from Sav-On most of the photos on the roll were from a small house party a girl I met at the grocery store had invited me to. The last pic, the one of the scene of the arrest, was grainy. It wasn’t really front-page Union-Tribune quality like I’d hoped. But this was 25 years ago and at that time I still had these dreams I aspired to: maybe one day I’d be a real photojournalist / important photographer / artist with a camera.
One can dream.