There was a time in the ’90s when Los Angeles gang life was portrayed by a certain epic mythology and romanticism (though that’s not quite the right word) in popular culture. For a kid growing up in a fairly white suburban town, watching Juice, Boyz N the Hood or other such movies and listening to Tupac, Snoop and Dre, there was something fascinating about this world of violence, honor and brotherhood.
Granted, the depictions in pop culture were probably far from the reality as these things go. But with that in mind, there is something fascinating about the blunt realism on display in Robert Yager’s series of photos capturing the life of LA’s notorious Latino street gangs. The photos have begun making the rounds on various photo and art blogs — for good reason, since they are top-notch.
Yager was born in London, now resides in Los Angeles and was a Latin American Studies major in college. Incredibly, he has spent the past two decades immersing himself in the world of these street gangs. He’s no longer the outsider that he once was, as his black-and-white photos document everything from the gang member’s family lives, to violent confrontations with the police, and even the secretive hazing rituals members go through to gain initiation.