Photographs: Central Avenue 1940s to present

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Future Farmers of America class circa 1975 at Jefferson High School, found in a vocational classes scrapbook in the JHS archive. Courtesy of Jefferson High School.

Future Farmers of America class circa 1975 at Jefferson High School, found in a vocational classes scrapbook in the JHS archive. Courtesy of Jefferson High School.

Back in February, Los Angeles native and documentary photographer Sam Comen went to a Central Avenue Business Association meeting to find out what he could do as a photographer in the community. There he “heard from the business owners about their passion to bring in cultural tourism and make people aware of this place, which is right under peoples’ noses,”  Comen said, “and I felt the moment was right to bring this together.”

Comen worked with his friend Jason Neville, an urban planner, to develop the idea of capturing images that spanned Central Avenue’s rich history from a thriving pre-war community in the 1940s, through  post-war blight and two waves of civil unrest  to the present day.  “We decided that rather than use only my camera to look into the community, that we’d ask the people who lived there give us a look through their cameras,” said Comen.

Central Avenue: A Community Album opens on Saturday April 14 with a reception from 7:00 to 10:00pm and runs through April 21, 2012 at 2515 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90011 at the corner of Adams Blvd. More info here.