Monday, 9 September 2013

The Nihon-Jin of Rodeo Drive


Having some time off on Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive, I decided to test whether the city of angels's legendary shopping mecca was as conducive to street photography as is New York City. I only had a brief window of opportunity and it opened between 2-3 pm; a period of time not surprisingly accompanied by a dazzling sunshine...but with hordes of Japanese tourists.
Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills, California is a 4 block stretch of road north of Wilshire Boulevard and south of S. Santa Monica Boulevard, known for its luxury-goods stores. The street is home to some of the most sought-after stores including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Herm├Ęs, Burberry, and Coach....and others that I don't know. These stores must spend serious money for rent, and their air conditioning bills must be astronomical.

The Nihon-Jin of Rodeo Drive is a gallery of photographs all made with the Fuji X Pro-1 and a Fujinon 18mm, and all were shot from the hip (except one). I wanted to be as unobtrusive as possible, and shooting from the hip allowed me to capture candid expressions I may not have been able to otherwise. As women engaged in shopping for luxury goods are normally extraordinarily focused, I could've photographed them at point-blank range, and they wouldn't have noticed me. 

However, as I learned many years ago not to interfere with, or distract, a woman on a shopping spree, I thought the shooting from the hip option to be the safest for my well-being.

A Japanese guide told me that these buses carrying these shoppers are a daily occurrence, who are greeted by the Rodeo Drive merchants with open arms. I was also told that 92% of the shoppers on these buses were women, and the rest were men...presumably the very patient kind.

The photographs are not listed in any particular order, but most of them show the intensity of this activity reflected in the expressions of these women. The Japanese shoppers must've a specific window of time to do their shopping and to enter as many luxury stores as possible...and it's serious business.