Human traffic: photos of people in their cars are a window to a lost world
By Sean O'Hagan
In the early 70s, Mike Mandel would walk from his house in north Hollywood to the busy intersection of Victory Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon, where he would stand on the pavement and point his camera at the cars waiting at the traffic lights. “I liked the idea that I would stand in one place every day and the pictures could come to me,” he says.
Back then, way before digital cameras, surveillance and smartphones, people were more relaxed about a stranger on a street with a camera. “I was using a wide-angled lens and had to get in really close, because I wanted a reaction. Some guys flipped me the finger, but more often people would just smile back or pull a face. They just thought it was kind of funny.”
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