San Pedro is a seaside city, part of the Los Angeles Harbor, sitting on the edge of a channel. California Stories: Attempt to correlate social class with elevation above main harbor channel (San Pedro, July 1975) (1973–2011) is a series of coupled gelatin silver prints that show the artist using his hand to measure the elevation of various pieces of real estate, ranging from a manicured mansion to a ramshackle beach house. A direct equation becomes evident between the social strata these homes represent and the height at which the artist holds his hand.
Allan Sekula was a Los Angeles–based photographer, intellectual, and critical essayist who explored issues of labor and globalization. His photographs and writings set out to picture and allegorize ignored inequities, opening them up to examination and discussion. A former student of the German philosopher Herbert Marcuse and the famed conceptual artist John Baldessari, Sekula taught in the photography and media program at California Institute of the Arts.