American Apparel is an internationally-known purveyor of hip sportswear. Their advertising campaigns are controversial for their depiction of very young women who’re sexualized in strangely-posed photographs. In Los Angeles, where American Apparel manufactures its line, the company has for many years licensed about a hundred small billboards in ethnic and working-class neighborhoods, where those ads are placed at eye level. The sexual fantasies portrayed in those sleek, graphically simple ads are surrounded by the very complicated reality of LA’s visually chaotic urban landscape, whose grit, anarchy and blight are at odds with the blithe spirit of those strange billboards. My photographs document the “dialogue” between LA’s built environment and American Apparel’s groovy teenage daydreams.
February 28, 2015