Blacksmith Shop – Olvera Street, Downtown Los Angeles

Blacksmith Shop - Olvera StreetBlacksmith Shop – Olvera Street, Downtown Los Angeles, California, USA

This image of a blacksmith shop on Olvera Street owned by Cruz N. Ledesma was shot while taking 12 weeks off from drumming to recover from an appendectomy in 1983. I felt good, but had strict orders from my doctor not to even look at a drum set for at least 10-12 weeks. With this in mind, my dog Icy Bear and I set out to roam the streets of Los Angeles looking for anything photogenic. Icy Bear liked butcher shops and fish markets best, and I preferred old buildings and people on the street so we met each other half way. I’m not sure which one of us had more fun.

It was at this time in my life that I began to think about photography as an alternative, if I ever was not able to play music. Years later, that day came.

copyright 2011 O. Bisogno Scotti  All Rights Reserved.

Minolta SR-T 101 SLR, Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50 mm f/1.7 lens, Slik Tripod, Kodak Plus X 125 Professional 35 mm b&w film, scanned onPolaroid Sprintscan 4000 film scanner. Exposure not recorded.

14 thoughts on “Blacksmith Shop – Olvera Street, Downtown Los Angeles

    • Thank you David for your comment.

      I liked the grittier 1983 Olvera Street much better than today’s.

      Feel free to subscribe to Blog-Bisogno if you like. You will receive an email once a week alerting you to all the latest updates.


    • It is wonderful that you found my image of your Uncle’s shop! This is what makes photography worthwhile for me. I hope you liked my interpretation. But where is it? It should have been acknowledged as a national landmark and preserved for future generations.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I agree O. My cousin still has the Anvil, I believe. He and my grandmother Crucita lived in the Sepulveda House for a time. We have wonderful stories of my Tio Cruz. His humor was infectious and he was a charmer. Your photo captured the rawness of the shop, in a haunting wonderful moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • At least someone in the family has the anvil. That was the icon of your uncle’s shop. You have some wonderful family history. The Sepulveda House has recently been restored so that’s good. I live in Downtown Los Angeles, and as a photographer I notice the little things such as your Tio’s (it’s Zio in Italian) blacksmith shop that make DTLA interesting. I’m glad you liked my photograph. I put a lot of thought into each image I make. I want them to tell a story. Nice to meet you, and I hope you follow and enjoy


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up on Olvera Street. Cruz was my hero and father figure. My son (Patrick) and grandson (Jeremiah) middle names are proudly “Cruz” 😄 I wish I would have learned his “artistic ” blacksmith trade! I spent many years turning the handle on the pictured fireplace to heat up the metal that he worked his magic on! Cruzita was a saint, as my family also lived in the Sepulvida House. Cruz also lived at the Avila Adobe house for many years until an early 1970’s earthquake. Thank for the beautiful picture and memory! Reuel

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment Reuel. It is the ultimate complement for me when a photograph of mine touches a viewer. I was a somewhat recent NYC transplant when I made this capture, but as I released the shutter, I could feel the history, art, and craft, and knew the importance this image would have for many people. The whole Ledesma blacksmith shop should have been kept intact in a history museum.


      Liked by 1 person

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