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1990s Photos of Street Gangs of Los Angeles, California [18+]

When we think about Los Angeles we mostly associate the city with the rich neighborhoods, Hollywood and huge mansions. However, the city has its dark side – the neighborhoods ruled by gangs. In 1992, photographer Robert Yager began to photograph members of LA street gangs. His photos show the gangs of Los Angeles and their life in these closed communities. This work won him acclaim and his work has appeared in several exhibitions.

Robert Yager is a Los Angeles based photographer. He grew up in London, England. He first started working for the UK’s Observer Magazine and the LA Weekly in 1993 and has since also contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, The Fader, TIME, Newsweek, Interview, Esquire and UK magazines of The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Face and Marie Claire.

Yager published a book of photographs, ‘a.k.a. BooBoo’, which covers a 14 year time span in the life of Cindy, a female gang member.

Warning! This post contains photos that might be difficult to view. You have been warned!

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1. Spider talks on the phone while police officers approach him.

Gangs Of Los Angeles

2. Tags.

3. Three girls in a ranfla (spanish name for a lowrider). Playboys neighborhood, Mid-City Los Angeles.

4. Making a primo, a mixture of crack-cocaine and marijuana.

5. Clover’s head shows the Playboy rabbit symbol as well as three letters symbolizing his clique.

6. Playboys Gang members tagged this wall after the police painted over a mural that the gang mebers had put up on this wall.

PBS stands for the Playboys Gang. Their individual names are also spraypainted. June 1993, Mid-City area of Los Angeles, west of Downtown.

7. Teenage gang member runs in the street with an M1A1 carbine, in an attempt to catch and shoot rival gang members.

8. Jumping In to the Playboys Gang.

Initiation by way of a beating, while someone counts up to thirteen. The initiate is expected to fight back against at least three members. This is a joyous rite of passage.

9. A riot broke out in Downtown L.A. during Fiesta Broadway.

Here police, including some on bicycle duty, beat a gang member before they arrested him.

10. Trigger shows the tattoo he’s having done.

11. Squeezebox shoots up heroin in the Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, where some of his homies are buried.

12. Girls from Echo Park Gang visit Nica’s grave.

They introduce a newer, young member and tell Nica about the latest events of their neighborhood.

13. Playboys Gang mural.

14. Money collected from crack-cocaine sales being counted.

15. Haircut.

16. A very young Playboys Gang member smokes a primo, a mixture of crack-cocaine and marijuana.

17. Laffey took his son, Anthony, to Disneyland.

Here he shows him Roger Rabbit in Toontown. Rabbits are the predominant symbol of the Playboys Gang.

18. Kathy’s grandma’s house in the Playboys gang neighborhood.

19. Members of the Crazy Riders Gang around one of their member’s ’48 Chevy Fleetline.

Their neighborhood is in the McArthur Park district of Los Angeles, just west of Downtown LA, 1995. Oakie, shown in the foreground is a very charismatic figure.

20. Mousey was killed by rival gang members three months before she was set to get married.

Her family decided to bury her in her wedding dress. Father Greg Boyle presided over her funeral.

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Geralt Nowak

There will be something about me. I'm too lazy now.

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