Martin Luther King Jr. as Folk Art

Street Portraits Across L.A. Show How Different Neighborhoods Interpret the Civil Rights Leader in Their Own Image

I did not set out to document murals of Martin Luther King Jr. in American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit. I just happened to find one back in the 1970s and photograph it, then many others, until a national collection developed. His likeness welcomes shoppers on the facades of liquor stores, barbershops, and fast-food restaurants. He is represented as statesmanlike and heroic, proud and thoughtful, friendly and compassionate.

The street portraits of King are made mostly by sign painters, almost never by trained artists. Street …

Gentrification Isn’t About Hipsters

Angelenos Worried About Their Changing Neighborhoods Are Better Off Going to City Planning Meetings than Complaining About Well-to-Do Newcomers

The term gentrification can be a catch-all word to characterize the arrival of hipsters, widely available wi-fi, and whites moving into neighborhoods of color. But at a “Thinking L.A.” event …

Is My Gentrifying L.A. Hood Getting Worse or Better?

A Resident on the Frontline of Urban Change Weighs the Pros and Cons

If you want to know what it’s like on the front lines of gentrification, you only have to look at the corner of Avoca Street and Yosemite Drive in Eagle …

As L.A. Gentrifies, Who Gets Left Behind?

With New Development and Organic Markets on the Rise, Many Working-Class Neighborhoods Are Transforming—Maybe for the Worse

When a British sociologist coined the term “gentrification” in 1963, she wrote that it happens when “working class quarters have been invaded by the middle class … until all or …

What Can Downtown L.A. Do for Southern California?

The Dense, Cosmopolitan Neighborhood Already Offers Great Art and Food. Now It Needs to Ease Pressures on the Working Poor and Be More Inclusive.

When the Ace Hotel opened downtown in early 2014, a billboard announced its arrival with two simple words: “Hello LA.” The sign epitomizes a revitalized downtown Los Angeles intent on …