Los Angeles, the 1980s, and the hairspray industry is booming. As was Anthony Hernandez, the Californian photographer had been one of the pioneers setting the blueprint for street photography during the 1970s, and this series of intimate candids – taken on L.A.’s infamous megabucks shopping street in 1984 – look as fresh today as they did then (perhaps that’s because today’s hipsters have been raiding the subjects’ wardrobes for ironic inspiration).
Recently published by MACK, Rodeo Drive, 1984 by Anthony Hernandez offers up plenty of nostalgic amusement but, scratch the surface, and Hernandez’ interest in the complexities of urban living can be seen in all their shameful glory. There’s little in the way of racial or economic integration to be seen here: pre-riots Los Angeles – and in particular this still largely rich, white neighbourhood – paint a disquieting portrait of the American dream, and it’s a subject Hernandez has never been afraid to tackle. Fascinating.