Los Angeles is a hot bed of creativity and promise. But it can also feel isolated and unreceptive. For photographic duo Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, their new project,
LA Woman, was an opportunity to showcase this wealth of female talent whilst connecting women within their community.
The ongoing portrait series profiles creative female Angelinos' in their invariably beautiful L.A. homes. “I think someone's home is a good representation of who they are,” Brinson tells TIME. “If it's sloppy or if there's beautiful art everywhere…it’s a way to visually show someone's personality beyond how they dress or how they do their hair.”
Brinson and Banks’ offbeat style translates personality into beautiful imagery and with these shoots, no planning was needed. “We really reserve these as a time for total spontaneity,” says Banks. “We're seeing [the space] for the first time so we are inspired simply by what we see.” The portraits are also an opportunity for the pair to experiment without the pressures of a client’s expectations. “We'll see a little crystal hanging from the window that's casting a rainbow across the room and try to shoot something that incorporates that,” Banks adds.
The women’s trades are diverse; from comedy actors to painters to musicians and, as is common in LA, many have side projects. “What's been really cool is that each person isn't just a singer, each person isn't just a ceramicist,” says Brinson. “They're a ceramicist but also a vintage car hunter and a hand model.”
Though the project wasn’t begun as a reaction to the women’s rights movements, the pair believes it very much speaks to the movement. “We do both consider ourselves feminists and were both raised by strong creative mothers,” says Brinson. She believes that women are “completely marginalized” in American society, particularly in Hollywood but also in creative fields more generally.
The pair both started as freelance journalists and Banks says he got a significant amount more work than Brinson. “It's not easy being a creative person who's self-employed. It can be very lonely. I know exactly how it feels,” says Brinson. She hopes this project helps to give creative women more visibility, as well as offering those who are just starting out some inspiration. “These strong, wonderful women are doing it; they’re living their dreams,” she says.LA Woman works by nomination meaning everyone featured is connected in some way. “It's a special community that we're accidentally building,” says Brinson. Conversely this has meant the pool is somewhat limited and the majority of women are fairly young and at the start of their career. But this is also intentional. “Though there are tons of amazing 55-and-up artists, we're trying to keep it to the young female creative,” says Banks. “There’s a shared energy of excitement and hope for the future. For what they're going to become, for who they want to be.”