You can't discuss the influence of contemporary West Coast culture on America and Japan without mentioning the work of renowned photographer and director Estevan Oriol.
Some of the earliest images of West Coast art and lowrider culture to hit NYC, and beyond, were made by the 30 something Chicano who has an eye for unsettling detail.
Iconic photos of Danny Trejo and Cypress Hill, to name a few, were made by him and have been embraced by hip-hop and L.A. enthusiasts since the late 1980s and onward.
When we spoke to Oriol a few days ago we talked about his new project, a calendar for 2012 called L.A. Woman which is comprised of shots of women in Los Angeles.
Women featured through the 12-month calendar include XXL's 2009 Eye Candy of the Year, Rosa Acosta; models Justene Jaro, Jeri Lee, Megan Daniels, Rachel Sterling and Erica Ocampo; and TV host Emily Rose, Angela Copeland, and Amiee Josellia, among others.
We also spoke about his dad Eriberto, also a noted photographer, and their two man show which received critical and financial acclaim when it went up at the Carmichael Gallery several months ago.
Here's some of what was said!
GlobalGrind: Congratulations on the calendar! Tell us about it.
Estevan Oriol: Thank you very much! I did one in 2009 and, basically, I did it to test the waters, to see how much interest there would be in the L.A. Womens book that I was doing. I released that at the same time and... and the reason why I didn’t do one in 2010 was because I was promoting the book so much. I didn’t really have time to put out another one.
But this year I thought, I got to come out and keep the movement going. I put a bunch of pictures that have never been seen before (or girls I never shot before) and then I put a couple that were in the book for people that didn’t get the book for whatever reason; they get to see a little of the book and see some new stuff.
Was it difficult making the choices you made for the calendar?
Oh, yeah, it always is! Because I’ve shot so many girls, it's really hard to pick 12! I have so many pictures of each girl that it’s hard to pick one of each of them. It’s as if I’m battling with 10 rolls of film, each roll has 36 pictures: which one do I pick? That’s the challenge for me.