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Former DA Gil Garcetti makes case for urban cycling with photo book

Gil Garcetti’s book and photography exhibitions are helping Americans to think about cycling as an attractive alternative to driving.
Gil Garcetti’s book and photography exhibitions are helping Americans to think about cycling as an attractive alternative to driving.
Photo by Max Donner

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti has become so successful in his new career as photographer and author that event organizer Molly Barnes invited him to be a featured speaker at a new program on career transitions. Garcetti’s latest book project, “Power of Beautifully Dressed Parisian Women on Bicycles,” was featured as an exhibit and speaker program at the Los Angeles Art Show last weekend.

Garcetti is using photos from Europe’s fashion capital to help more cities think about ways to incorporate the healthy benefits of cycling in visions for 21st Century cities. He chose Paris as the venue for his outdoor photos because there are so many attractive subjects to photograph in bicycles in a context where they would almost only be seen driving cars in the U.S. The photo exhibitions and book project are a subtle way of encouraging Americans to consider cycling as an alternative to our traditional car culture.

Garcetti’s cycling photos capture viewers’ imaginations with a hint of the improbable. Fashionable women in high heels riding bikes. Cycling while wearing a long coat in the wintertime. Speeding through a drenched thoroughfare holding a red umbrella. A romantic couple kissing while cycling side by side. The message is appealing. Anything you can do in a car, you can do on a bike and you don’t have to buy gas or search a long time for a parking spot.

Garcetti’s past experience as an elected official in America’s largest county have made him realistic about the dedicated communications efforts that will be needed for many more Americans to embrace cycling the way to many Parisians already have. “There are obstacles to practically everything,” he told readers in his book lecture on January 18. The public relations effort is already gaining momentum. Garcetti’s photos will be exhibited in Bordeaux, France as a feature of events highlighting the 50th Anniversary of the Bordeaux- Los Angeles Sister City Program.