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The Friday Photo Essay: Capturing Historic-Filipinotown Culture On a Film Camera

2:25 PM PST on January 13, 2023

The iconic neon sign at the original Tommy’s Burgers location on Rampart Boulevard.

L.A. TACO is embarking on its biggest mission yet: to create a taco and food guide for every single neighborhood in Los Angeles! Along the way, we will also be releasing brief histories of each neighborhood to understand L.A. a little more and celebrate how each and every neighborhood makes our fine city the best in the world.

The best way to know your neighborhood is to walk your neighborhood. Photographing Filipinotown on 35mm film for the past half-decade, I sometimes feel like I've walked every inch of the neighborhood countless times. But while working on this photo essay, I found plenty of places that I was unfamiliar with, from offices, homes, and studio spaces to homeless encampments hidden from the road, new plants, flowers, and murals. The experience reminded me that neighborhoods are constantly changing, and you’ll never see everything.

The iconic neon sign at the original Tommy's Burgers location on Rampart Boulevard.
Morning light hits one of my favorite store front signs.
A Victorian style house that's been converted into apartments with views of the DTLA skyline.
A Victorian-style house that's been converted into apartments with DTLA skyline views.
An elderly man walks by an 20th century craftsman house as it's being demolished.
An elderly man walks by a 20th century craftsman house as it's being demolished.
A tree grows out of a wall in a parking lot.
A sign that's no longer around.
The farmacia in this photo is now Brooklyn Bagels.
The farmacia in this photo is now Brooklyn Bagels.
Craftsman homes on a residential street in Historic Filipinotown.
A driver kills a man riding a motorized bicycle on a dangerous stretch of Beverly Blvd that has seen numerous fatalities and reckless driving incidents in recent years.
A Victorian-style home with Halloween decorations outside.
Businesses on the eastern edge of Historic Filipinotown.
A body shop on Beverly Boulevard
Body shop on Beverly Boulevard.
A carniceria on Beverly Boulevard that also has a taco stand.
A memorial for Karla Duarte, a young woman who was fatally shot in an abandoned home in Filipinotown.
Pinay Coin Laundry.
Historic Filipinotown at dusk.
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