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A Los Angeles Story
By Don Normark
In 1949, photographer Don Normark walked up into the hills of Los Angeles, looking for a good view. Instead, he found Chavez Ravine, a ramshackle Mexican-American neighborhood tucked away in Elysian Park like a poor mans Shangri-la. Enchanted, he stayed for a year amidst the wild roses, tin roofs, and wandering goats of this uniquely intact rural community on the citys outskirts. Accepted by the residents, Normark was able to photo-graph a life that, though bowed down by poverty, was lived fully, openly, and joyfully. That ended in 1950, when the residents of Chavez Ravine received letters from the government directing them to sell their homes and leave. Some sold, some were dragged out of their houses kicking and screaming. The emptied houses were razed to make way for Dodger Stadium. The past fifty years have not erased the memories of Los Desterrados, the uprooted descendents of Chavez Ravine. Now available in paperback, this beautiful, haunting book captures their images, their stories, and their bittersweet memories. A social and cultural history of Los Angeles and Mexican America, Chavez Ravine reclaims and celebrates this lost village from a simpler time.
Don Normark has had more than ten thousand photographs published in Sunset and other magazines. His award-winning work has been shown at galleries and museums around the US and is found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, MIT, and the Smithsonian.
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