LA Times editors told Barbara Davidson that “Gang violence isn’t news – it happens all the time.” She responded the only way she knows how.
Some estimates say that nearly 60% of murders in Los Angeles are gang-related. Movies have been made and stories written. But newspapers have serious decisions to make when it comes to coverage. Gang violence in Los Angeles truly could be covered every single day. The deaths, the arrests and the toll it takes on a community could be daily columns unto themselves. It can be talked about through the lens of race, economics, the current criminal justice system, education, the history of America and/or the human psyche. The response the LA Times editors gave Barbara Davidson when she came to them with the idea that she wanted to document these gangs? Their response is almost understandable. Beat-generation writer William S. Burroughs said that “Artists to my mind are the real architects of change.” Such is the mold from which Barbara Davidson is cut.
About the Artist
Barbara Davidson has been a staff photographer for The Los Angeles Times since 2007. She won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and a National Emmy for her Multi-Media documentary of innocent victims trapped in the crossfire of Los Angeles’s deadly gang violence. She also won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography with seven fellow staff members for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. That same year, the Pictures of The Year International Competition (POYI) named Davidson ‘Newspaper Photographer of The Year’.