'The Lowriders: From Detroit to L.A. and Back'
is a visual story about the people, processes, places, and products of lowriding coast to coast, with this excerpt centered in Detroit's lowrider scene.
The cars that serve as traditional lowriders were originally designed and built in Detroit. They were sent around the world and eventually inspired a number of automotive customization cultures, many of which worked their way back to the Motor City itself.
In Los Angeles, late 1930's Pachuco culture popularized the low slung stance that came to be emblematic of lowriding as a social and stylistic statement. L.A. eventually innovated hydraulic suspensions in the 1950's, a qualifying modification of lowriders soon thereafter, with the ability to adjust the cars' ride height while still driving, in response to law enforcement's targeted crackdowns.
Since then lowriding has traveled across time, cultures, communities, and geographies as it has developed its own unique characteristics in various locales on its round trip voyage back into the heart of Detroiters where the culture is integrated into the lives of riders and their families.
Erik Paul Howard is a photographer as well as co-founder of Inside Southwest Detroit, Young Nation, and The Alley Project in Southwest Detroit. Through cultural, place-based, and media projects he has been building with neighbors and youth in Southwest Detroit for over 20 years.
Erik's photography documents human interest and themes of community formed around shared passions and intersecting needs. He employs photography as a visual tool in storytelling, learning, teaching, and organizing around equity, social justice, access, and engagement.
He was most recently a 2019 Magnum Social Justice Fellowship finalist and a 2017 Facing Change: Documenting Detroit fellow. Erik's intersecting organizing and visual arts work has been featured in the Detroit Free Press, Lowrider Magazine, Detroit Metro Times, the Venice Biennale, on NBC, NPR, and PBS as well as in galleries, cultural centers, and public spaces, in homes, and abroad.