Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 32

Price Realized: $ 688
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(CALIFORNIA.) Photographs and contact sheets from the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots triggered by the Rodney King verdict. 8 contact sheets, 10 x 8 inches, with a total of 253 images; plus the Kodak negative strips, neatly sleeved and stapled to their corresponding contact sheets; plus 4 photographs, 8 x 10 inches, selected to be printed from the group of negatives. Minimal wear, one print slightly retouched; no photographer's stamps, no captions other than a couple of the negative sleeves labeled "LA Riots 5/92" and one placing the location in Huntington Park. Los Angeles and Huntington Park, CA, early May 1992

Additional Details

The beating of unarmed traffic violator Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers took place in March 1991. The officers were acquitted of assault on 29 April 1992, which triggered widespread rioting in the city's Black communities which had long complained of police brutality. 63 people died and more than a billion dollars of property damage was incurred. The National Guard and the United States military were called in to help the police restore order.

These photographs and contact sheets all apparently date to the first days after the National Guard arrived on the scene. They show damage from the riots, and officers on patrol. One shows an armed private security officer standing by a sign reading "No trespassing, or you will be shot!"

The photographs were taken in several different neighborhoods in and near Los Angeles. One contact sheet is identified as from Huntington Park, a small largely Latino city in Los Angeles County, which adjoined the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles where the rioting began. Violence began in Huntington Park on the second day, 30 April, and federal troops were deployed there two days later. These Huntington Park photographs apparently date from the first days of this federal troop deployment. One shows a policeman guarding an intersection near the Huntington Park Place strip mall on Florence Avenue, a major road which headed west a few blocks from Huntington Park to the epicenter of the heaviest rioting, at Florence and Normandie.

Another unlabeled sheet (Kodak Safety Film 5063) shows the distinctive overhead Whittier Boulevard sign near the corner of McDonnell in East Los Angeles, a few miles northeast of Huntington Park. A series of 6 shots shows two professional women offering coffee to guardsmen at the nearby corner of Kern and Whittier.

The photographer is unnamed, but the Huntington Park sheet offers one clue to his identity: he can be seen shooting his own reflection in a car's rear view mirror near the bottom of the sheet--a youngish possibly Latino man with a bit of a pompadour.