Op-Ed: Photo essay: L.A.'s architecture of insecurity

Photographs by Camilo José Vergara

Concertina wire, bars and high windowless walls -- the architecture of insecurity marks many of the Los Angeles neighborhoods that Camilo José Vergara has been documenting for nearly 20 years. He has found dozens of examples of grim concrete "lock box" buildings that turn their backs so firmly on the outside world they don’t even post a sign. Other fortresses are lettered or painted pink to soften a scrim of bars or blank windows, but protection more than welcome remains the message. These are fortifications first, and warehouses, offices, shops, churches and homes second.

5721 Compton Ave., 2006

8222 S. San Pedro St., 2000

6516 S. Broadway, 2013

1901 Imperial St., 2011

2703 W. 8th St., 1997

737 S. Lake St., 2014

E. 69th St. at Avalon Blvd., 2013

9607-9609 S. Vermont Ave., 2011

Camilo José Vergara was awarded a National Humanitites Medal in 2013. His exhibition "Time Tracking: Documenting America's Post-Industrial Cities" is on view in Germany, at the Braunschweig Museum of Photography, until Dec. 28.