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Imagine taking these photos today

By Kyle Almond, CNN

Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT) May 17, 2017
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In 1970, photography student Mike Mandel went out to a busy intersection in Los Angeles and started taking pictures of people as they waited at a red light. The images are fascinating to look at nearly 50 years later -- not only for the outdated styles and cars, but also for the reactions. "It was a different time where most people would not react in an aggressive way," Mandel said. "They wouldn't feel immediately that this was an invasion of privacy and that this is wrong. Most people reacted like, 'This is really surprising and this is actually kind of funny.' " Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
Mandel's best images are compiled in a new book, "People in Cars." The photos were taken at the corner of Victory Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue. "I would just go there in the late afternoon when the light was coming from the west and I'd get a nice kind of direct light on people as they were coming to the intersection," Mandel said. Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
Mandel used a wide-angle lens that would require him to get just a couple of feet away from the cars. That way, the people knew they were being photographed. "I was having a lot of fun," he said. "Most people were just enjoying being photographed, enjoying being recognized. They would make a face at me or they would do some kind of a gesture or they would just laugh." Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
Of course, not everyone was amused. Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
Most of these photos were taken in 1970. Some were taken as late as 1973. "It would be harder to do (today), and you just wouldn't get the same kind of responses," Mandel said. "You'd probably get a lot more suspicion and antagonism and all of that." Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
The images are also part of "Good 70s," an exhibition of Mandel's work at the Robert Mann Gallery in New York City. That show runs until June 30. Another opens May 20 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
"What's different about today is that everybody has a camera," Mandel said. "They've got their phone which is a camera, and they are bombarded by images from their friends, their social media, they're making photographs all the time. So the idea of being photographed was so much more unusual, I guess, back in 1970." Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
"I think it would be harder today because I think people are more paranoid about having their kids photographed ... 'Who's going to do what with this on social media?' " Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
Mandel said he didn't look at these pictures for 40 years. "It was really enjoyable for me to rediscover what I couldn't see when I was 20 years old," he said. Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
He said shooting photos of cars was a natural idea for him to latch onto. "I come from LA, where either you lived a big part of your life in the car or you were not having much of a life," he said. Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER
A woman glares at the camera. "I knew that when people were in their cars, chances were they weren't going to get out and run after me," Mandel said. Mike Mandel/Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and STANLEY/BARKER