SKYLIT: Joseph Rodriguez, “LAPD: 1994″ w/ Ruben Martinez

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, photography, art, skylit by skylightbooks on July 23rd, 2021

In 1994, the New York Times Magazine assigned Joseph Rodriguez to ride along with cops from the Los Angeles Police Department, photographing them at work. This was just two years after the protests that erupted when four officers were acquitted on charges of beating Rodney King, and LAPD needed a public image makeover.

The photographs, now compiled in LAPD: 1994, tell a story about the power imbalance between police and the community, the constant tension between the stated goal of “protecting and serving” and the reality of police violence. From behind my camera, Rodriguez saw how decades of profiling, racism, and brutality had led to deep distrust in many communities—distrust that the LAPD’s mild attempts at reform couldn’t even touch. The photos capture a particularly turbulent time for the LAPD, just after several very public corruption scandals in addition to the charges of police brutality brought to light by the video of Rodney King’s beating.

Rodgriguez discusses his photographs with Ruben Martinez.


Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

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