Los Angeles is the epitome of car culture- a horizontal sprawling mass where the automobile functions as the ultimate promise of freedom. This project stems from my own decision in January 2008 to get rid of my car and features interviews and photographs of 100 other car-less Angelenos. The project addresses how one's spatial, psychological and geographical relationship to the city changes when experienced from outside of a car. I met people from a wide range of backgrounds, socio-economic levels, and occupations, and heard an amazing range of reasons for not driving. I met single moms, teachers, writers, consultants, comediennes, actors, urban planners, computer programmers, analysts, bakery workers, students, and unemployed. I met people whose physical disabilities kept them off the road, and people who did not drive because of firm ideologies about the detrimental effects of car culture. Others had been in accidents, their cars had blown up, they were afraid to drive, they lost their licenses after receiving a third DUI, they preferred bicycles, or they were simply tired of spending so much on a car.
The 100 people featured in this project prove that the city can be enjoyed, productive lives can be led, and lifestyles can be maintained, even improved, without a car. At the same time, the tribulations and difficulties faced by those interviewed highlight the very real ways in which mobility issues result in some residents being obstructed from fully particpating in the opportunities and resources of the city.
Diane Meyer, who currently lives in Los Angeles without a car, is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Loyola Marymount University. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at AIR Gallery, NYC, The Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, and The 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica as well as numerous group shows in the United States and Canada. She has been an artist in residence with the 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica; the CUE Art Foundation, NYC; Smack Mellon, NYC; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Residency in the Woolworth Building. She received a BFA in Photography from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts in 1999 and an MFA in Visual Arts from The University of California, San Diego in 2002.