Joseph Rodríguez is a Documentary photographer born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
He studied photography in the School of Visual Arts and in the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
Rodríguez won an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 1993 photographing gang families in East Los Angeles.
Recent Books: Spanish Harlem, Juvenile, East Side Stories, Flesh Life Sex in Mexico City, and Still Here: Stories After Katrina.
Bronx Documentary Center Online Exhibition: https://www.lapd1994bdc.org/
Publisher: The Artist Edition
In the mid-nineties, the LAPD was in search of a public image make-over after the Rodney King uprisings. The City Charter was reformed by increasing civilian oversight of the LAPD, the militant police chief of the moment, Daryl Gates, was forced to resign and Willie Williams became the first African-American chief of the department.
As part of these efforts, the LAPD gave photographer Joseph Rodriguez unprecedented access to document the officers in the field for The New York Times, hoping to give the public an image of a “kinder, gentler cop”, as the headline put it. For weeks, he immersed himself in the daily workings of the 77th Street, Pacific and Rampart Divisions.
Four years after Rodriguez rode along with Rampart officers, the station became notorious when the biggest scandal in LAPD history erupted in an astonishing spectacle of officer corruption that included the murder of a fellow cop, a bank robbery, unprovoked shootings of alleged gang members, drugs stolen from the evidence room, and other crimes – so much for a nicer, gentler cop.
The photos in LAPD 1994 display the subjectivity of Joseph Rodriguez as much as that of the cops and the civilians, who are the victims and sometimes perpetrators of violence – he is not afraid to humanise the cops, but the images also shows the darker side of both the officers and the people they are sworn to protect.
Book Specs: Design: Martin Farran-Lee and Steen Sundland/The Artist Edition; Hard cover; 23 x 30,7 cm; 160 pages; 79 color plates; 600 copies; ISBN 978–87–970724–2–4. Available here.