Working in L.A. - The Book

Working in L.A.—The Book



Los Angeles has a way of creeping up on you. From Ladera Heights to El Sereno from San Pedro to L.A. Crescenta it envelops you, spins its oil slicked web around you and kisses you with its marine layer sunrises and dramatic smog filtered sunsets. I have lived in Los Angeles and indeed called it home for eighteen years. I never thought I would say that but it's been eighteen years and I'm still here. These photographs were made in Los Angeles at the beginning of March 2008. 

Equipped with a daily map and a slew of Dickies we drove the length and breadth of the city to make these images. The light you see is the light of the city. From cloud covered gloomy days in downtown with bike messengers competing with each other on their day off to the ochres and blues of a Silverlake sunset overlooking Frog Town - few cities have this. Dickies are the work clothes of Los Angeles. At every turn we would find a waiter, a hotel-busboy, a mail delivery person or a security guard wearing them. It was as though the city had already dressed for the shoot - of course Los Angeles wakes up everyday dressed and ready for a Dickies shoot. So many of our subjects declared "I'm not sure that I have any Dickies" and then showed up to be photographed wearing a pair of pants or a shirt explaining, "This is all I wear I just didn't realize they were Dickies". It's as though the brand can be as invisible as it is omnipresent. 

It's not that often that you have the chance to photograph people at work in your own city and be compensated for it. It was a great pleasure to make these portraits - from my favorite mechanic to an old Dogtown skater who now plays harmonica and cleans pools - they all had stories. Big stories, small stories - stories of adversity and stories of commitment. Stories of dreams dreamt and stories of dreams deferred. 



Everything comes easy for Angelenos with our uncompromising weather, the flawless glamour machine, overnight success stories, naturally immaculate bodies and it's all for free. This is the blueprint of Los Angeles that lines a lot of pockets and flushes others down the toilet. Buy into it and live one of the most exciting rides in the urban theme park. You don't always do what you set out to achieve but respectable work in L.A. can lead you down an unexpected path of fulfillment, if you don't get caught up in the distractions.
The "City of Angels" is powered by the accomplishments of all who live here. Isn't Los Angeles defined by the work we do, aren't we what we do and where we do it?
Many races, cultures, faiths and credos endure pulling their weight in this unique city. It takes an unshakable passion in order to maintain this necessary strength to endure. Working in L.A. brings pride to those devoted to what they do amidst a gritty and sometimes unstable environment. This city is what you make it, shunning any outsider who refuses to believe in its greatness. Don't assume L.A. owes you anything, contribute something, many great individuals with grand ideas have broken through here. Find your niche and L.A. will remain close to your heart. Tycoons, Architects, Teamsters, Taco Vendors and everything in between work in this one of a kind place called Los Angeles.
The following photographs prove this all to be fact, a legitimate testament to the unique charisma of those who work in L.A. B+ has captured the essence of the worker with his honest portrait of the Angeleno. Each subject offers you a glimpse into this distinct breed, the working force of L.A. 

Heath Mattioli & David Spacone a.k.a. Lowbrow