art.: This Must Be The Space at Photoville LA.

seeing outside

The space known as  Annenberg Space for Photography celebrates ten years in conjunction with its presentation of  Photoville LA, a United Photo Industries event that features exhibitions in repurposed shipping containers, photo cubes, and lightboxes.

These three outdoor exhibitions spotlight an aspect of coffee culture through diverse subjects, which include chefs, youths and a privileged set of individuals at a once historic Inglewood race track. As each project provides images to accompany its focus, within such lies the sub story of how a lifestyle resulting from coffee can provide insight into the human condition and its interests.  I enjoyed taking a look at Photoville through the lens of coffee, as I’ve done in previous years and  evidenced below: as a beverage, a coffee shop and even a farm.

Coffee once again finds itself in the space of culture that causes us to think and engage with the world at large.


Clubhouse Turn by Michele Asselin

Coffee and Water. Horsemen’s Lounge Bar. From the series Clubhouse Turn (2013-2017)


Michele Asselin, a working photographer living in Los Angeles explores the social constructs of the human experience. Using portraiture, she captures the people of Hollywood Park Racetrack which closed its doors on December 22, 2013.  The Inglewood site’s historic landmark status inspired Asselin to document its architecture, grounds and people, before it was demolished to pave way for a new football stadium.

The exhibition at Photoville features an array of characters and scenes from life at the racetrack including this one, signaling that coffee was a part of the culture for those seated at the ‘Clubhouse Turn.’


Underground Chefs of South Central by Oriana Koren

Oriana Koren


Step onto the verdant green of Photoville and you’ll find mats to parlay on, Smorgasburg food to discover and themed exhibitions. One such one, hued in white, yellow and black is Oriana Koren, who takes on race, class and food in her project which explores black culinary creativity and community according to the exhibition notes.

As she documents their contributions across South Central Los Angeles, she gives viewers a look into the operations of the chefs. One subject is Chef James Posey of Three Staxx Kitchen in Compton. Posey makes seafood boils with business partner Kiet who runs the Boba counter in the kitchenette of Chú Thòng Coffee Shop, owned by Kiet’s father.


Fourth Grade Project by Judy Gelles



What do fourth graders think about family, their future and the world. Fourth graders around the world are asked three questions by photographer Judy Gelles. Their portrait – shot with their backs facing the camera – are paired with their answers. Revealing thoughts, fears and hopes, their honest and candid answers touch on common human experiences and urgent social issues as stated in the projects synopsis.

The uniformity of image and questions asked allow the viewer to visually engage with students, while from different parts of the world, share a human commonality of pressing social issues.This portrait is of a girl whose father left the family. One of her two brothers work on a coffee farm.

As you engage with each exhibit out of doors, their visuals bring you into highly personal stories where more than images are on display but the heart of humans in context of their passion.