Safi Alia Shabaik – Featured LACP Member, November 2015


“I discovered and created my first camera at the age of five, a self-built pinhole, through a class at the local science center. Needless to say, I immediately fell in love with the medium. From then on, I seemed to always have a camera in hand, no matter the occasion. I began documenting the visual noise of my childhood. My relentless curiosity for people and things led me on many adventures, honing my eye and introducing me to the street. My affair with the street might have begun in Los Angeles, but having grown up there, by my mid-20s my love for it had somewhat faded and I developed an irrefutable itch to get out and see the world. I moved to New York, having been inspired by the legacy of New York street photographers: Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meiselas, Weegee and Garry Winogrand, to name a few. After almost a decade of asphalt and taxis, I returned with new eyes, an open heart and a fresh perspective to my city of origin that in reality I had yet to truly understand, though it had presented itself all along.

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a city that is filled with almost edible light, each street corner playing out tableaux of everyday stories. As a street photographer, I attempt to capture the uniqueness and depth of Los Angeles (or any city for that matter) with a blend of artistic vision and honest documentation. Perhaps Robert Frank said it best, “I’m always looking outside, trying to look inside. Trying to say something that is true. But maybe nothing is really true. Except what’s out there. And what’s out there is always changing.” My intent has always been to capture Los Angeles through my version of truth, which is constantly evolving with the reinvention and revitalization of the city itself.

This feature is a sampling from a larger body of work created on the streets of Los Angeles over the course of the first six months of the year 2015. Though the project is ongoing, to date I have spent well over 200 hours with my camera on these streets finding and creating images of Los Angeles as I see it now. This is my visual journal marking a deeper relationship with the city in which I was born and raised, the city that I left for nearly a decade to which I eventually returned, and the city for which I have gained a profound new respect and love.”

To see more of my work, please visit the following links:

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1 Comment

  • Hey Safi…great work, as usual. You remind me how compelling B&W photography can be, even though, I have an ongoing love affair with color! :)larry h

    Larry Hernandez

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