Skid Row is a Center of Photographic Creativity | NBC Southern California

Skid Row is a Center of Photographic Creativity

People on Skid Row are able to chronicle their lives on the streets, thanks to the use of donated digital cameras

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    A Skid Row Club photographer snaps a photo.

    Creativity is defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, and create meaningful new ideas and interpretations.

    Normally Skid Row doesn't have a reputation for being a center of creative activity -- but creativity not only exists, it thrives in the form of photography.

    Skid Row Photography Club

    [LA] Skid Row Photography Club
    A program to give cameras and teach photography to the people of skid row sees success in what has developed. (Published Monday, Oct. 26, 2009)

    It all started when photographer and occasional Wired.com contributor Dave Bullock organized a photography club on Skid Row, which is a massive encampment of 7,000 to 8,000 people in downtown Los Angeles.

    He gave cheap digital cameras obtained through a city arts grant to people in Skid Row. Then after the participants got brief lessons in composition, they were turned loose.

    Over a six-month period, Skid Row photographers shot more than 20,000 pictures.

    An amazing body of work appeared, ranging from flowers to architecture to a man defecating in the middle of the street.

    Club members say they have learned to look at their surroundings in a whole new light, and see beauty where they never saw it before.

    Some of their photos were presented to the public for the first time last November when The Skid Row Photography Club had its first show, "The Beauty of the Street."

    More than 500 attended the event, and proceeds from the sales of the photos were split: half of the money going to the photographer and half going to buy more cameras.

    Now the group has a new collection of photographs on display at a storefront at 5th and Main, and its works are sometimes exhibited during the Thursday night downtown art walks.

    Donations of any camera that still works, no matter how old or how many megapixels, is welcome. Got a camera you want to donate to the club? Email eecue@eecue.com.