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Times Photographers Will Bring Captured Images to the Streets of Art Walk

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, at 01:29PM
Spidey Assault © 2009 Mel Melcon /Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times photographer Mel Melcon, one of the participants in Thursday's pop-up gallery, captured this moment on Hollywood Blvd in 2009.

The photography staff at the Los Angeles Times are no strangers to the streets, but Thursday may be a bit different as they are taken out of their comfort zone of war-torn countries, international natural disasters and Downtown’s Skid Row to display their work in a parking lot turned pop-up gallery.

The show is named after the paper's photography and video blog, Framework, and coincides with Month of Photography - Los Angeles (MOPLA) and the April 2011 Downtown Art Walk.

For the staff, it is a big deal to be part of the local scene outside their Spring Street doors.

"We’re thrilled to be able to showcase the diverse and rich work of our staff photographers that go out every day, not knowing what to expect,' says Kathy Pyon, the Los Angeles Times Photo Editor who is producing the pop-up gallery and sharing curating duties with other photo editors. “It’s particularly exciting for us to be exhibiting during Art Walk. We’ve covered it and attended it and have wanted to participate in it for some time.”

The one-night-only exhibition includes a collection of framed prints of recent work, projections and an installation of images from significant and eclectic L.A. events dug up from the archives.

Many of the photographers on display will be there, like photographer Mel Melcon who recently spent seven days with LAPD officer Deon Joseph for a photo essay on Skid Row.

Melcon has been with the Times since 1984 and has had work in a gallery setting before, including one show that featured members of Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles. “The exciting thing about this exhibit is that it's the first one we've done where the entire show is our work," says Melcon.

So which is more intimidating, reporting from Skid Row or the idea of having strangers comment on your work in person?

“That's a tough call," Melcon says. "Covering Skid Row with Deon Joseph wasn't intimidating because I was with a cop the whole time.

"But, in general I would say Skid Row is more intimidating because walking around that neighborhood with expensive camera gear could make you a target for robbery, whereas the only thing I could get robbed of at the exhibit is my pride,” he jokes.

“The first time I had to talk to a group of photojournalism students, that was intimidating, because I wasn't used to it. Now that I have done it a few times, I am much more relaxed."

The exhibition is chance to talk about the work and hopefully give photography and art lovers a broader sense of what the Times photography department is about, says Pyon.

“And exhibiting at Art Walk will allow us to see and hear people's reactions, which is a rare opportunity for us," Melcon adds. "We enjoy getting feedback on email and through comments online, but there's no substitute for standing next to someone, looking at one of your pictures, and hearing about what they see in it.”

Appropriately for Art Walk, the event isn't all mingling and discussion. The event will feature music from Darren Revell of “Big Sonic Heaven” and a selection of craft beers curated by Cole’s. Admission is free, but limited to those 21 years and over.

Los Angeles Times | Framework Pop-Up Gallery @ Downtown Art Walk / Thursday April 14, 6pm-10pm / Southwest corner of 2nd & Spring, across from the Times

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