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Chavez Ravine

Fall 2009

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing…”

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing…”

—Henri Cartier-Bresson

In 1948 20-year-old photographer Don Normark walked up a hill in Los Angeles looking for a good view. Instead he found Chávez Ravine, site of three ramshackle Mexican-American neighborhoods tucked into Elysian Park “like a poor man’s Shangri-La,” he thought. He spent much of the next year photographing this uniquely intact rural community. Accepted by the residents, he returned often with his camera to witness a life that, though limited by poverty, was lived fully, openly, and joyfully.

In 1950 the people received letters telling them that they must sell their homes to the government … » More …