The year was 1992, the place, Watts, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. I took a series of photographs that show what street life was like at that time. This project was for @time Magazine, here’s how it all went down:
I went to a park in Watts, all was pretty uneventful and I, Mark Richards, stood 6’4” off the ground with a milky complexion- not blending in with the large crowds.
I was a little nervous given rival LA street gangs were gathered and I was unsure as to how calm the waters would remain. The energy was at best strange and shaky, with tension vibes, but nonetheless it was a friendly gathering. I wasn’t sure if anything would happen, or if everything would happen.
The moments leading up to this amazing image were conflicting for me. I was unsure if I should make a photo happen myself, or let it happen on its own. Out of fear, not talent, I waited. Suddenly, two people came together during a blur of activity and here you have it!!
The vibe was unreadable, and my nerves were getting the better of me. This whole situation can go sideways at any moment, but to my surprise everything was cool and it was a successful event that went down in Los Angeles history! Later to be called ‘The Watts Truce’.
In the background, I heard beer tops popping, and before anything else would potentially pop off, I decided to play it safe and remove myself from the event.
Though, it was nerve-wrecking, it was a beautiful act I was very lucky to bear witness. Here’s to continued peace!