Foto del Dia: NYC, 1986 – Shots of Lady Liberty from the WTC

The World Trade Center was so simple in its design. An incredible feat of structural engineering but ultimately just two parallel sets of crisp clean lines stretching skyward. LA Times’ Bob Griever took this stunning shot of the WTC sprouting above its much older neighbors in July 1986. Bob used the WTC as his perch to photograph the Statue of Liberty during her rededication after renovations. See below for a link to the full photo essay on Liberty Weekend and Operation Sail.

Link: Statue of Liberty from World Trade Center – Framework – Photos and Video – Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.

Revista Trip – Surfland

Brazilian coverage of the NY surf scene. Montauk to Rockaway through the lens of Brooklynite Joni Sternbach. Interpretado por  From not so deep in the baú da Revista Trip. See below for a link to Revista Trip’s article on Sternbach’s photography.

From Joni Sternbach's Surfland

Link: Revista Trip – Surfland.

Miss Chinatown @ Lion Country Safari – Irvine 1974

Tigers up close – Framework – Photos and Video – Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.

Miss Chinatown 1974 at Irvine’s Lion Country Safari.Tiger moms in the mirror? Definitely classier than the Real Housewives. Sigh, weren’t orange groves and self-service safaris so much nicer than tract home hell and logjams on the 5?

These same assholes were holding up traffic on the 405 yesterday.

The LA Riots

For as long as he doesn’t sue us to take down his photos, Ted Soqui (the lens master who’s Occupy LA photograph graces our homepage) will remain a special member of the HELA family. Of all the photos I’ve seen during this year of commemoration, Ted’s are the one’s that take me straight back to ’92. At that time, there were a handful of images that would remain indelible. The burnt and burning strip malls, Reginald Denny getting dragged from his truck and curb stomped on live TV, and soldiers guarding storefronts. And while I’d grown up with plenty of Korean-Americans, I’ll always remember the LA riots as a sort of coming out party for the K-Town locals.

When I first saw the photo below I thought, “These guys aren’t the cops, they’re not the National Guard, they’re not gangsters… they’re just shopkeepers protecting what’s theirs …and these hombres do NOT fuck around.” It reminded me that there are times in life when you gotta draw a line in the sand and the only person you can ultimately rely upon to hold that line is you, yourself, and maybe a couple of your closest brochachos.

There was also something jarring about seeing this group of people in a new light. It’s rare that we ever imagine immigrants for who they were, that is, for who they used to be. I mean, we take for granted the entirety of a life experience that brought someone across an ocean or a desert and through a Kafkaesque bureaucracy -with or without their family- to set up shop on this side of the border. Of course, not every cab driver was a surgeon in a past life, but this photo told me that the guys who stock the shelves and ring up your groceries had definitely gone through some serious shit before planting themselves in the ciudad, and they weren’t about to see their new life go up in flames.

Photo: Carlos Schiebeck

If I can shift from the journalistic lens to a little duder’s eyewitness account, there was another interesting phenomenon that became evident in the aftermath of the riots. While the ashes still burned, you could see that there were a lot of small and humble ways that people expressed their commitment for a return to normality. Despite the wanton recklessness and gratuitous destruction of property, it wasn’t ENTIRELY as our good man Bradley once stated “about comin’ up and stayin’ on top and screaming 1-8-7 on a motherfuckin’ cop.” A lot of people moved quick to clean things up and do their best to support their less fortunate neighbors. Because once a city’s collective outrage spills over into the streets, the havoc it wreaks becomes indiscriminate and the jackasses lighting everything on fire didn’t pause to think much about who would suffer most from the collateral damage.

In Soqui’s photo essay for the LA Weekly, he juxtaposes “then and now” shots of various ground zero locations and you can see that some of these neighborhoods never totally recovered. Some businesses burnt to the ground and 20 years later the only thing to rise from the ashes is a couple weeds in an empty lot. But in the moment, there were little things that helped the city move forward. And while it may not seem like a big deal, one of those little things was high school sports.

Try to realize that even after things had cooled down a bit, a lot of parents didn’t want their kids being bussed into the ashes. Even if their neighborhood was already torched up, there was still a somewhat legitimate concern that when their kids stepped off the bus at a rival high school, they’d have to dodge bullets. A riot is anarchy and nobody was really sure what the unwritten rules would be moving forward. Times were tense and kind of weird. There was a lot of fear and lot of anxiety and yet somehow people intuitively figured it out. It was a moment when fear briefly surrendered to …I don’t know… faith? As freaked out and traumatized as the city was, there remained an undercurrent of confidence that the same assholes sniping at firefighters the week before would know better than to pull the trigger on kids playing baseball and running track.

Photo: Don Emmert

That meant me and my fellow brochachitos -kids who had watched history unfold from the relative safety of the South Bay- spent the month of May in a yellow school bus trucking through all the neighboring barrios that got lit up during the LA Spring. One thing I’ll never forget, something that was simultaneously eerie yet reaffirming, was that we played ball in places where everything in the neighborhood had been burnt, wrecked, or broken …except for the school — especially the parochial schools. Little islands in an ocean of chaos. Everybody so pissed and so destructive and yet even during a moment of complete disregard for boundaries, there was an awareness that some things remained sacred. The church and the classroom. Two sanctuaries in a time of crisis.

A look 20 years back at HELA’s barrio today. Christine Burrill’s photo collage from the Free Venice Beachhead

LA TACO » Snyder ~ Los Angeles

With Banksy on the move and certain to once again use la ciudad as his canvas, LA Taco takes a look at Snyder, another Los Angeles street artist punctuating the urban landscape with his creations. LA TACO » Snyder ~ Los Angeles.

May Day protests – Los Angeles Times: Framework

Shots by Lawrence K. Ho, Barbara Davidson, and Al Seib from the LA Times coverage of May Day protests in Downtown Los Angeles. Intriguing alliance between immigration / labor interests and the queer contingent. A growing blue collar Latino partnership with LGBTA activists undercuts assumptions that the political right will eventually be able to tap into conservative social values to build the Republican Hispanic base.

May Day protests – Framework – Photos and Video – Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.

I have a dream

I have to admit, I often find myself fantasizing about the child they’d have.


Branjelina a “supercouple”??? TapaLula would CRUSH them. Unless… unless there was a Jennifer Aniston in the story — some jilted haina lurking in the shadows… waiting to destroy their glorious union…

wait a second…


Cuidado Santita. You mess with Cholula’s man and she’ll cut you.

La foto del dia: Patriotismo

La foto del día 3: Spanish lesson


It is indeed Spanish for: Taco.
Learn it. Live it. Eat it.
We give today’s foto DOS pulgares ARRIBA. …well, actually…so did the foto.
Besos y Abrazos,

La foto del día 2: Shoot the Moon High-5 Burger Leap

From our hermanos quasi-Californicanos across the pond at Brown Cardigan and the Australian basecamp of San Clemente brainchild Von Zipper.

As always, free burrito for best caption.

Equis y abrazos,


La foto del día: Derek Corneau on el Flickr

From El Norte via Mission Loc@l. EPR gives it ¡Dos Pulgarones Arriba!

雄雞 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.