Photographer’s Vibrant Portraits from LA’s Black Market Flea

Black Market Flea

A photographer from the LA Times took a series of bold and beautiful portraits at Black Market Flea — part of a wider project celebrating the city’s Black community.

Jason Armond took a portable orange photo backdrop to the event, held at the Beehive near downtown Los Angeles, which helped him to achieve creative and striking portraits.

“I was intrigued by the reveal,” Armond tells PetaPixel. You have the wide shot showing the environment and then couple it with the tight portrait where you couldn’t see the environment.”

Black market flea

Black market flea

Black market flea

After the photographer and his photo editor picked out the color of the board that fit with the overall project, Armond brought along an assistant who help the backdrop behind the subject.

“You don’t have to set up a stand or lighting equipment, you can pop in and get your photo and do something that’s really eye-catching,” explains Armond.

“There’s a handle on the back that’s just cobbled together with some gaffer’s tape and I just shout over to the assistant ‘over to the right, over to the left, up, down!'”

Black market flea

Black market flea

Black market flea

While shooting on his Canon 5D Mark IV with a 50mm f/1.4 attached, Armond ensured the lighting was consistent no matter where he approached people at the event.

“I wanted to find interesting people who have an interesting look because Black Market Flea is one of these events in LA that highlight Black LA and a lot of people come out to it dressed in their best clothes,” he explains.

“They show up as their authentic selves so that’s what we wanted to show that Black people are not a monolith. We just wanted to show how Black people in LA express themselves through the way they look and the clothes that they wear.”

Behold Project

Armond’s photos were part of a wider LA Times project entitled Behold. With the help of his photo editor Keith Bedford, the pair set about finding interesting events and subjects as part of the paper’s “recommitment” to the city’s Black community.

“From a media perspective, Black LA can sometimes be presented in a singular lens where we wanted people to speak freely and speak their truth about what it is to be Black in LA,” says Armond.

black market flea

black market flea

The “portrait-driven project” highlights how Black LA sees themselves, which means a break from the traditional newspaper model that doesn’t allow subjects to pick their own photos.

“If we chose a photo that the person doesn’t feel comfortable with then for this project I feel like it’s okay if we change the photo so it’s something that they feel proud of and can share with their family and with the community,” adds Armond.

The LA Times’ coverage on Black Market Flea can be read here and the Behold project can be seen here.

More of Armond’s work can be found on his website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Image credits: All photos by Jason Armond/LA Times.