Photographer Jason Armond arrived at Los Angeles’ Black Market Flea with a portable orange backdrop and a desire to capture striking portraits of the flea’s attendees. Armond is a staff photographer at Los Angeles Times, and the pictures were for a story about the event. Black Market Flea happens once a month (for most of the year) at the Beehive, an event space and hub for technology and entrepreneurship in South Los Angeles. There, Black-owned businesses sell art, clothing, jewelry, and more, and food trucks and a live DJ make the flea market feel like a party.
Armond’s portraits feature stylish Black people as they stand in front of his backdrop. Sometimes, he chooses to crop their portraits close, containing their beaming faces and energy within the orange background. In other instances, the backdrop and subject are just one portion of the larger composition, and we get a peek into the greater flea.
The photos at Black Market Flea are part of a larger project by LA Times called BEHOLD. “At its core, BEHOLD is a portrait-driven project that celebrates LA’s Black society while also providing a platform for people to speak their truth,” Armond tells My Modern Met. “For years, many Black Angelenos have felt unseen by the LA Times. The BEHOLD project is a small step in the right direction providing a space for LA's Black community to be unapologetically Black.”
“When we first launched BEHOLD, we set up popup studios in the community,” he continues. For Black Market Flea I knew I wanted to approach our on-location portraits in a different way.” Armond achieved this with the colorful background that he and his photo editor selected. “My goal was to continue doing portraits on a backdrop but to also show some of the vibrant environment of Black Market Flea,” he explains. “Having a small handheld backdrop was a perfect way for me to move around the event and produce and add some variety to my portraits.”
Scroll down for photos from Black Market Flea. Then, check out the LA Times article to learn more about the event.