The Main Drag: Photographs from the San Gabriel Valley
“The Main Drag: Photographs from the San Gabriel Valley” is an exploration of the towns that comprise Los Angeles’ less well known valley. When Angelenos refer to The Valley they mean the San Fernando Valley, not the San Gabriel Valley, despite its ethnically diverse population of more than 1.5 million people living in roughly 200 square miles, which makes it only nominally smaller in both statistics than the San Fernando Valley. Of the greatest interest to me is the evidence of how the cities and towns of this area originally began and have developed over time. In each of them a main street and/or intersection became the primary commercial center, the main drag, some of which have managed to remain viable, while others have fallen prey to malls and the Internet and struggle to stay alive. The evidence of decades of store owners and shopkeepers attempting to stem the tide are manifest in layers of architectural upgrades and signage, offering homespun Mom and Pop alternatives to the national and international chains and franchises that dominate the newer malls. Some of the main drags are holding their own, however, others are quickly becoming ghost towns, disappearing along with their hand painted signs and quirky architectural embellishments. My objective is to document as much of this decay as possible before these cities and towns have irrevocably changed.