Words and Meaning: An Exploration of DTLA

A photo essay by Alexis Rhone Fancher

I’ve always known that my beloved Los Angeles has a dark, gritty side. But until I moved downtown in May of 2013, I never understood the poetry of these mean streets. I was bombarded with semiotics; the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. As a poet, I paid close attention. As a photographer, I began to connect the text with the DTLA surroundings. When a friend pronounced the results “semiotic,” I began documenting in earnest. Here are just a few of those photos.

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“Repent! Follow Jesus”

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“_Elf Storage”

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“Finally Got An Interview”


“They Who Can Give Up”


“Spare Any Left OveRs”



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“King Eddy’s Saloon”

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