Looking Back

As before, new photography has become difficult. The only thing new will be the Saturday botanical galleries, at least for a bit longer. But here is how the transition of August to September looked, out here, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives.

Pershing Square (40 images): Pershing Square is the center of Los Angeles – exactly one square block in size, downtown. In the 1850s this spot was used as a camp by settlers outside of the Pueblo de Los Angeles. The city grew up around it. In 1866 it was dedicated as a public square and called La Plaza Abaja, “The Lower Plaza” – but in 1870 it was officially renamed Los Angeles Park. In 1886 it was renamed 6th Street Park, but in the early 1890s it was renamed again, as Central Park. In November 1918, a week after Armistice Day ended World War I, the park was renamed Pershing Square, in honor of General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing. That will do for now. Beethoven showed up in 1932 – a little something to honor the founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Pershing Square keeps changing, but it’s still the center of Los Angeles, surrounded by odd buildings from all the years gone by. ~ Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Capturing the Light (40 images): The light changes out here in September. It gets dramatic. Hollywood looks like a movie set. Maybe it is a movie set. ~ Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Down at Paramount (40 images): Melrose and Gower on a lazy Friday afternoon – Paramount Pictures – always something to see when you’re stuck in traffic down there – Friday, September 4, 2015

Mondrian Sunset (33 images): The Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip has been there since 1985 or so, but it’s changed hands a lot. In 1996 the new owners renamed the Mondrian Hotel Los Angeles, then they sold it in 2011 to a real estate trust – but they still run the place, although the rooftop Sky Bar is no longer the place where the a-list stars go to see and be seen. What is hot only stays hot for a day out here. Still, playful pure geometry never goes out of style. One block west, the two new mixed-use towers are very Mondrian. Piet Mondrian died in 1944, but he would get this. Mondrian lives. ~ Friday, September 2, 2016

Thunder in the Distance (25 images): From Mulholland Drive – looking north across the San Fernando Valley – the Mojave is out there beyond those distant mountains. There are thunderstorms building out there, heading for Hollywood. It gets darker and darker. August ends. ~ Thursday, August 31, 2017

Self-Referential Photography (45 images): This is the best place to get the best shots – the Nikon building on Wilshire Boulevard. The old Nikon was made for this – odd angles and mysterious light. All the skyscrapers on this short stretch of Wilshire, between Museum Row and Beverly Hills, were ready for their close-ups. The old Nikon was ready too. ~ Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Cool Venice (45 images): Hollywood was unbearable hot. Venice is always ten degrees cooler, but Venice Beach is no good on a summer afternoon – too many people, too much noise. The rest of Venice was just fine, with what is left of its canals and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) on Venice Boulevard and at the south end, the sailboats leaving the Marina. That’ll do. That’s cool. ~ Friday, August 30, 2019

Reaching Back (35 images): The Italianate “luxury” apartment building from the late twenties on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and North Stanley Avenue, surrounded by Craftsman bungalows from a decade earlier, each with a lush garden now – with a new glass McMansion wedged in here and there. Before the bungalows, and long before there was a movie industry, this was all orange groves, and Hollywood Boulevard was a dirt road named Prospect Avenue until 1910, when the town of Hollywood, created by H. J. Whitley, was annexed by the City of Los Angeles. Things change. ~ Tuesday, September 1, 2020

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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