Kristin Bedford: Cruise Night *Exclusively* at LACMA
Known for her quiet portraits of American cultural movements, Kristin Bedford’s new work, Cruise Night, is an intimate and unstaged exploration of Mexican-American lowrider car culture in Los Angeles.
From 2014 to 2019, she attended hundreds of lowrider cruise nights, car shows, quinceañeras, weddings, and funerals. Bedford’s images offer a new visual narrative around the lowrider tradition and invite us to question prevalent societal stereotypes. Located at the intersection of aesthetics and social realism, her photographs explore the nuance of cars as mobile canvases and the legendary community that creates them.
With the bold language of color photography and the female vantage point, Cruise Night is an original look at a prolific American movement set against the Los Angeles cityscape.
“Kristin Bedford appreciates the sensitivity of our culture and Cruise Night is an amazing representation of lowriding. We are always being stereotyped but by riding with us she understands what we are really about and what we do. She has earned the respect of the lowrider community by not just making a book but by living the life with us. We will always be thankful that she’s one of the very few that got it right. Like the saying goes, “one rides, we all ride” and she’s riding along with us.”
Juan Ramirez Co-founder Los Angeles Lowrider Community and President of Just Memories Car Club Los Angeles, CA
“As a woman, Kristin Bedford brings a unique perspective to her documentation of the maledominated culture of lowriding in Southern California. Precisely framed and lit, her images capture the jewel-like hues and meticulous customization of the cars, celebrating the creative vision of each owner. She also focuses her lens on the women and family members, revealing the palpable sense of community that underlies this Mexican American tradition. Cruise Night introduces a wider audience not only to that tradition and some of its members through excerpts from oral histories that Bedford conducted, but also to a quietly compelling new voice in documentary photography.”
Virginia Heckert Curator of Photographs J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles, CA
“One part family album in its prosaic depiction of the lowrider community, one part a poetic, electric, color filled photographic embrace of an often stereotyped subculture, Bedford's approach in Cruise Night captivates with its uniquely female gaze, a rarity in car culture across genres.”
Eve Schillo Assistant Curator Wallis Annenberg Photography Department Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“Each of these exquisite photos is a visual poem of color, form and harmony. As a group, they at once give intimate access to, and a sense of the mystery, in a world you could never otherwise have known, and will now never be able to forget. There is twofold art here: the lowriders’—with their cars, bodies, and relation to the city streets and spaces—and Kristin Bedford’s, with her photographs. Cruise Night is a superb work of photography and ethnography. It is about love of life and the joy in seeing.”
Bruce Jackson SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture SUNY Buffalo, New York
“I have been lowriding for over 50 years. I have never met a photographer as sincere as Kristin Bedford. She gets a lot of respect from car clubs and lowriders all over, and that means a lot in our Chicano culture. I don’t think anybody has given us the credit and taken the time to understand our history like she has. We are not going to talk to just anybody but we knew we could trust her and she would listen. With her book, she is doing something good for the lowrider community. I am the old school, I’ve been around and I know the real thing when I see it. Kristin Bedford is the real thing.”
Oscar Ruelas, “The Godfather of Lowriding” Co-founder Dukes Car Club Los Angeles, CA
- 144 pages, 12 x 12
- 75 color photographs