Beneath the surface of the highways, thoroughfares, and traffic jams of Los Angeles is a widespread community of car-free people getting around town -- free of the expensive and obligatory DMV visits, insurance bills, and trips to the gas station.
Diane Meyer, a professor of photography at Loyola Marymount University, wanted to put a face on this community. Having been car-less for six months, she became intrigued with others like her who were navigating through an area synonymous with being behind the wheel.
Backed by a grant, she spent a year schlepping what felt like 100 pounds of camera equipment onto buses, approaching riders, and collecting their stories. When she finished, she had dozens of portraits, 100 stories, and 1,000 pages of transcribed interviews. Entitled "Without a Car in the World," the 2009 photo exhibition proved that the car-free community in the City of Angels was as diverse as the city itself.
"People got rid of their cars for financial reasons, but they found that their lives had improved in a lot of ways," she tells me. "Some felt they didn't have a choice. They didn't have a license, or they were handicapped -- they were probably more pessimistic about not having a car. But they were open to me, too, because they got to talk about the city's transportation problems. People were very open with talking to me."