1807: July 2018 Photography

July 2018 Photography

Comic Book Stuff: That’s it. Hollywood is a comic book. ~ Monday, July 30, 2018

Hollywood Show-Stoppers: Forget the startling set-pieces in the big Hollywood movies. The real show-stoppers in Hollywood are in the neighborhood gardens. ~ Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Color of Heat: West Hollywood walls on the sixth day of another record-breaking heat wave – this is the color of heat. Elsewhere, the rest of Southern California is on fire. ~ Friday, July 27, 2018

Professional Light: Hollywood is the movie industry and the movie industry is quite simple. It’s all about the professional manipulation of light. Get the deeps shadows right. Make the colors pop. The rest will take care of itself – and the professionals are down on Sunset Boulevard – the International Cinematographers Guild – the Motion Picture Editors Guild – Harmony Gold – the professionals who get it right – in their offices with the deep shadows and the colors that pop. They make that stretch of Sunset Boulevard a visual treat – as good as any movie – or maybe better. ~ Thursday, July 26, 2018

Nightmare Living: Anyone who lives in Los Angeles has read the cynical noir mystery novels of Raymond Chandler – “The Big Sleep” and all the rest. Chandler made the endless sunshine here dark and nasty, and this is Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles, the nightmare Spanish Revival apartment buildings from the thirties, where all those desperate characters lived out their desperate lives. Nothing much has changed. ~ Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Iconic Los Angeles: The giant American flag at Union 76 station on Sunset Boulevard has been a Sunset Strip landmark for forty years. It has faded and will be gone soon – the property has been sold to a developer. Expect luxury condos – but this flag has been a Los Angeles icon almost forever. And there are the low mid-century-modern homes of Rudolph Schindler. They’re iconic. They’re everywhere. Those define Los Angeles too. This one practically screams Los Angeles. The city is defined by its icons. ~ Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Chinese Painting: There’s the “Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden” – the Jieziyuan Huazhuan – the manual of Chinese painting compiled during the early-Qing Dynasty. It’s all about the brush strokes. The manual was the go-to book during the Edo period in Japan. Woodblock-printed copies were available in all the major cities. Everyone trained from it. But those days are long gone. Now it’s all in the camera, here a Nikon, a Japanese camera. These are the Lotus Pools at Echo Park Lake. This is Chinese painting too. Perhaps this is the Mustard Seed Garden. ~ Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Summer Afternoon: “Summer afternoon – summer afternoon – to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~ Henry James … And this is Los Angeles, Saturday, July 21, 2018.

The Walls Have Eyes: Taking a shortcut home down Melrose Avenue can be frightening. The walls have eyes. ~ Friday, July 20, 2018

Melrose Place: Melrose Place – produced by Aaron Spelling for Fox Television – a spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210 – aired on Fox from 1992 through 1999 – Heather Locklear and all that – impossibly pretty people in a hip Los Angeles apartment building. They made it up. There are no apartment buildings on Melrose Place, just the highest of high-end international fashion houses, with shopping by appointment only – for impossibly pretty people. The real Melrose Place is unreal too, but in a different way. ~ Thursday, July 19, 2018

Plastic People: Andy Warhol – “I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” He never got his wish, but these are those plastic people, on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills. They’re surrounded by bad public art. Warhol never imagined this. Or maybe he did. ~ Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Beverly Hills Heat: It was in the nineties. There were thunderstorms in the distance. It was another hot summer day in Beverly Hills, the land of the absurdly wealthy. It was photogenic. ~ Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Long on Color: Shorty’s Barber Shop on Fairfax Avenue is internationally ironic. There are no barbers. There are hairstylists. The clientele is young Hollywood and urban hipsters. Shorty’s is a study in retro-surrealism – but Shorty’s is long on color. The mural out back is pure supersaturated geometry, but Melrose Avenue at Heliotrope is long on color too – dragons and butterflies and that blue mandala at Gracie’s Pizza. This end of Los Angeles is long on color. It’s almost exhausting. ~ Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A July Celebration: Los Angeles isn’t Paris, but on Bastille Day there seems to be a celebration in the gardens, a celebration of summer. ~ Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Jungle Out There: It’s a jungle out there. Or it’s just another summer afternoon on Melrose Avenue. ~ Friday, July 13, 2018

Solar Reserve: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art would debut “Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014” in the middle of a record-shattering heat wave. John Gerrard’s installation is a digital simulation of a solar thermal power plant in the Nevada desert – a twenty-four-foot-tall wall of tiny LEDs. He used gaming technology to create a virtual world that mimics the positions of the sun, in real time, over the Solar Reserve site during the course of a year – an aerial view of the power plant and concentric circles of tile-like mirrors with a collection tower at the center. The image morphs throughout the day as the power plant’s 10,000 mirrors continuously shift, tracking the sun. It’s a bit mesmerizing. It’s a bit scary. It was originally commissioned by New York’s Public Art Fund, which presented it at Lincoln Center in 2014, but it hasn’t been seen anywhere since. Leonardo DiCaprio purchased it as a gift for the museum and it fits right in here, in sun-blasted Los Angeles. And it matches Renzo Piano’s severe postindustrial museum right there too. There’s too much sun here. ~ Thursday, July 12, 2018

Maintenance and Construction: Balloon Monkey (Orange) is temporarily closed. It needed buffing up. Art takes work. And next door, construction continues on the new Academy Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Museum. There’s always work to do on Los Angeles’ Museum Row. ~ Thursday, July 12, 2018

Love and Kisses: Romance in Los Angeles is a strange and tricky business – La Brea at Beverly – Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Angry Summer Skies: Sunset and Vine – still hot as hell but now with widely scattered showers here and there – light rain that turns to steam before it even hits the ground – and a smog alert – the air is thick. The skies are angry. Summer is scary in Hollywood. ~ Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Never Been Hotter: The heat wave broke all the records. It’s never been hotter in Los Angeles on any day, ever, but the local gardens are hotter than ever too. ~ Saturday, July 7, 2018

Central America: This looks like just one more crumbling minor Central American city fallen on hard times. It isn’t. This is Seventh Street on the south side of MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. The neighborhood is now Honduran and Guatemalan. The neighborhood turned Central American. The architecture was already here, waiting for them. ~ Thursday, July 5, 2018

A White Fantasy: This shouldn’t be real but it is – a startling Islamic-Moorish fantasy garden complex at 8301 Waring Avenue, at Sweetzer, in West Hollywood. This shouldn’t be here but it is. This is the land of fantasies. This is one of the odder ones. ~ Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Signature California: In the summer of 1963 the Beach Boys sang about that Little Deuce Coupe – that 1932 (deuce) Ford Coupe. The Model 18 featured the new Ford flathead V-8 engine and that became the definitive “hot rod” and that became Southern California in the nation’s mind. That was signature California. Here’s one, still around, but those days are gone. Nearby it’s what signature California is now – metrosexual young urban hipsters, young tech executives in slick suits, and the homeless war veterans in the streets. Southern California changed. ~ Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Far East: Sometimes it’s best to be somewhere else. Little Tokyo, on the east edge of downtown Los Angeles, will do. This is somewhere else. ~ Monday, July 2, 2018

The Buddhist Way: A Buddhist temple in Little Tokyo on the east edge of downtown Los Angeles that shows the Buddhist way – as does everything there. ~ Monday, July 2, 2018