Riding Through Compton
According to the US Census Bureau, one-third of the population of Compton, California are under the age of 18—one-fourth of its population live at or below the poverty line. Despite the latter statistic, Compton has been home to significant athletes, musicians, scientists, writers, and pioneering public officials. Over decades young people have found a way to overcome the socioeconomic odds against them when their life begins in this city.
For the last thirty years, the streets of Compton have been the stomping grounds of a youth riding and equestrian program under the leadership of Mayisha Akbar. Designed to provide the kids of Compton with meaningful year-round after-school activities, members not only learn to ride, but to care for their horses—developing responsibility, discipline, and self-esteem.
Riding Through Compton pairs three years of documentary photographs and formal portraits by Melodie McDaniel interviews by Amelia Fleetwood conducted with participants, guardians, and volunteers involved with the Compton Junior Posse.
Poet Laureate of Los Angeles Robin Coste Lewis contributes an excerpt from her poem "Frame;" the afterword by Walter Bodle places the photographs and the importance of the CJP program in historical context.
Melodie McDaniel (b. Omaha, NE, 1967; resides in Los Angeles) is an American still photographer and director whose work challenges prevailing motifs of American identity, with a deep investment in the exploration of sub- and countercultures. She graduated in 1991 with a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. McDaniel has created over 200 advertising campaigns to date for companies that include Nike, Target, Yahoo, Sony, Disney, Levi’s, Chrysler and Delta. Her work has been published in magazines such as Vogue, Dazed, Interview, GQ and Spin; photographs from this series are being featured in the 2018 Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA). This is her first monograph.
Contributing editor for Santa Barbara Magazine and LALA Magazine, writer Amelia Fleetwood has also been published in Architectural Digest, At Large, Domino, C Magazine, Huffington Post, and Du Jour, among others. She is based in Ojai, California with her children on a small farm with goats, chickens, horses, and a pair of badly behaved, overly-energetic dogs.