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Watts (revisited)

By Valérie J. Bower, Watts Life Car Club Annual Cookout, Self-publication, signed and limited to 200 copies. 60 pages, 15 x 12,5 cm. Condition : Excellent.

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Watts sits at the heart of South Central Los Angeles and has become known for a lot of things including the Watts Towers, the infamously dicey LA housing project Jordan Downs, and the 1985 Watts Riots. However Watts and its neighboring communities – Compton, Huntington Park, South Gate – stand for much more than the headlines they’ve propagated over the years, including its longstanding and proud lowrider and car culture. From the community’s hundreds of car clubs to weekly meet-ups and car hops, lowriders and the surrounding car culture have proven the connective glue and familial bond throughout the community.

Over the last two years photographer Valerie J. Bower has documented this lowrider culture. Bower’s photos emulate the visceral experience of walking down a South-Central LA street, capturing the city’s bouncing lights, unique characters, and the crazy scenes that unfold before your eyes. From behind her Minolta x-700 film camera she shoots photos that host a dialogue about the importance of documentary images, the way they inform and enlighten people, the way they enhance memory, and all of the numerous emotions you experience from looking at them.