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Stig De Block: Back to Back, From Backyard to Boulevard

Stig De Block: Back to Back, From Backyard to Boulevard

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Back to Back shines a light on the lowrider culture of Los Angeles, CA. Originating in the mid 20th century, highly anticipated social events began to flourish on Whittier Boulevard in East L.A., where cars featuring extended bodies and low to the road roll are proudly put on display. Pioneered by a new generation of Latinos from Texas, the Southwest, and Southern California, the scene expanded to include Black Americans who helped establish funk, RnB, and hip-hop as central fixations in the culture. These young men and women, who refused to assimilate, used these automotive masterpieces as their bold assertion of freedom.

Lowriders are an expression of the cultural, social, and religious identities of those who customize and display them. They prominently feature the hydropump system, originally used on aircraft technology, which allows owners to adjust the suspension by hitting switches to produce an extreme body movement we know today as “hopping.” Externally, they’re adorned with colorful pinstripes, flakes, candy paint, the faces of rappers like Tupac Shakur and Nate Dogg, and religious idols. Internally, upholstery, ornaments, and fixtures reflect the makers' fantasies. 

Car clubs play an important social role in the lowrider community, holding regular meetings, spearheading fundraisers, and even hosting award ceremonies, where trophies are given out to be proudly exhibited in a car’s rear window. Clubs actively reduce gang violence by providing color neutral zones for rival gang members to interact without prejudice or animosity, even forging new friendships at times.

Take a good drive out of Downtown Los Angeles to the boulevards of neighborhoods wrongfully stigmatized by the public, and you’ll get flooded with the finest chrome and paint jobs, all a product of a master level of craftsmanship. More importantly, you’ll meet communities who’ve found peace and solidarity in cars, sharing their culture’s wealth with their club members, families, and friends each and every Sunday of the year. 

Title: Back to Back, From Backyard to Boulevard
Publisher: Hopper & Fuchs, 2022
Photographers: Stig de Block
Author: Text by Atoosa Moinzadeh
Graphic Design: Vrints-Kolsteren
Format: Softcover
Size: 33 x 24.5 cm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9789464002089
Edition: 1200 numbered copies
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