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Hardcover, 224 pages
10 in. x 11 in. | 25.4 cm. x 27.94 cm.
Original essay by Mike Sager and original poems by Richard Cabral
Beginning in 1980, Merrick Morton set about going to East and South Central Los Angeles—traveling as far as San Diego—to document street gang culture. As an outsider from the San Fernando Valley, Morton was always interested in cultures that were different from his own. The folks in these neighborhoods immediately took to Rick and his quizzical eye, allowing him to move among them freely and affording him unrestricted access to their lives.
Clique: West Coast Portraits from the Hood, 1980-1996, Morton's first monograph, is comprised of two-decades worth of photographs wherein he documents these communities, some of which have been largely ignored by the mainstream media, and captures their spirit.
With this collection, he strove to keep the cultural identity of these neighborhoods and their inhabitants intact, rendering their stories in poignant black-and-white and color photography. Their family heritage is unmistakable in the still yet moving moments.
Inspired by the work of Danny Lyon and Antonín Kratochvíl, Morton traveled, unhindered and unafraid, into the barrios of East Los Angeles, eventually developing his own style, unmatched by anyone of his generation shooting in this arena. His work is rooted in trying to break down the stereotypes of these proud communities and presenting them as is for the world to see.
Recently, through Instagram and Facebook, Morton has reconnected with a number of his subjects (and their families), many of whom he shot decades earlier. He has found a community curious to see itself immortalized in his work and a new audience intrigued by what's been there all along.
Merrick Morton is currently photographing the cholo culture of Mexico City, and is filming a documentary of his photography throughout the Los Angeles barrios and the inner city. He has photographed extensively throughout Mexico and Cuba. His documentary works include essays on prisons and locked wards at a California State Hospital.
Morton has also shot on-set still photography for Fight Club, The Big Lebowski, La Bamba, Baz Luhrman's Rome and Juliet, and others. He cofounded the Society of Motion Picture Still Photographers and the LA Six, a collective of contemporary Los Angeles street photographers.
Designed by Mona Smith