2001: January 2020 Photography

January 2020 Photography

District Seven: The Caltrans District 7 Headquarters building at 100 South Main Street, for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, around the corner from Los Angeles City Hall and one block south of the heroic Los Angeles Times building, opened on September 24, 2004, and the principle architect, Thom Mayne, won the 2005 Pritzker Prize for this. It’s rather famous. It’s quite photogenic. And somehow it fits right in. ~ Friday, January 31, 2020

Not Our President: Downtown Los Angeles, Third and Main, not far from City Hall but far from the conservative circa 1953 vision of America, a mural that celebrates the birth of Hip Hop and a mural that celebrates minority women, and the strangest of sports bars, and generally, the new and wider world. ~ Friday, January 31, 2020

The Local Infrastructure: The Sunset Strip has always been lined with billboards. Pop culture doesn’t sell itself. This is a complex business. ~ Thursday, January 30, 2020

Coastal Dazzle: High winds blasting off the desert and out to sea, the long angled winter light turning the pacific silver at noon, a high-surf warning and Catalina in the distance, this was a dazzling day at the coast. The light made the world mysterious from Manhattan Beach down to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. ~ Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cosmic Blue: It seemed like a good day to explore the odder corners of the part of Los Angeles – down La Brea, east on Pico, then Fairfax north, back to Hollywood. And the corners were odd. They were also blue. They were cosmic blue. ~ Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Reflecting Hollywood: The West Coast micro-campus of Boston’s Emerson College, with students majoring in television, film, marketing, acting, screenwriting, and journalism – 2014, Thom Mayne, FAIA, principal of Morphosis Architects – Sunset Boulevard at Gordon – and next door, the reflective glass walls of the Technicolor headquarters building at the Sunset Gower Studios, reflecting the blank white walls of Siren Studios across the street – next door to the perfect white grids of the new Netflix administrative offices. The light was good. ~ Monday, January 27, 2020

Ending In Roses: Even in the dead of winter the Saturday garden tour always ends in roses, but then this is Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, January 25, 2020

At the Center: The Hollywood Center Building, 1929, Norton and Wallis, the first home of the Screen Actors Guild and of the Writers Guild of America, on Hollywood Boulevard at Cherokee, is at the dead center of Hollywood. It’s a subset of Art Deco know as Zigzag Moderne and surrounded by Spanish Colonial Revival nightmares and the now abandoned Kress department store from the thirties – a Regency oddity. And then there are the streets. Those now seem to be full of broken dreams. That’s the center of Hollywood. ~ Friday, January 24, 2020

Train Your Mind: People actually live on the Sunset Strip now, in new multimillion-dollar luxury condominiums wedged between the tall new luxury hotels. The Strip is scruffy no longer. But it’s still a strange place. To live here one must train one’s mind to see all of this as homey and quite normal. This could take years. This might be impossible. ~ Thursday, January 23, 2020

Rich Sunlight: After days and days of low clouds that all blew away. Now it’s bright sunshine, here on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The rich get the best light. ~ Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Negativity: Some days Southern California is just too insistent, too many things to see, too many details, too many bold images demanding immediate respect. Enough is enough. Some days it’s best to stay home. And that sort of negativity has its rewards. Step out the front door on a winter afternoon and there’s this. ~ Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Sudden Dark Day: Sunny Southern California suddenly stopped being sunny. That happens now and then in what passes for winter here. But the streets suddenly seemed menacing too. There was that zombie Mickey Mouse, and much more. ~ Monday, January 20, 2020

Botanical Persistence: Yes, it’s the dead of winter. No, the gardens are not barren. This is Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, January 18, 2020

Catching Light: California winter, early afternoon, Wilshire and Robertson, Beverly Hills – everything here was designed to catch the light just so. The rich live in a special world. ~ Friday, January 17, 2020

Without Streetcars: Sunset Square, Hollywood. Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, and American Colonial Revival homes from 1908 through 1941 now protected from developers – and an odd place on a dark winter day with rain on the way. This was a streetcar subdivision – the Laurel Canyon Line of the Pacific Electric Railway, which ran down Sunset Boulevard, opened in 1884 here.  Six years later, in 1900, the Los Angeles Pacific Railway opened the Wilcox line, which connected the Hollywood Line to the Pasadena and Pacific Line – all meeting here. This was the place to be. And then the movies came to town too. Before that this was all orange groves. Now it’s just mysterious. ~ Thursday, January 16, 2020

All Days Always: There’s new street art, all days, always. That’s because it’s Los Angeles. Everything changes, all the time, except for the winter sky now. That’s locked in. ~ Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Still Standing: The Dominguez Wilshire Building, 5410 Wilshire Boulevard – 1930, by Morgan, Walls, and Clement – originally the Myer Siegel Department Store – is now mostly vacant. But it’s being restored to its former dramatic elegance, as if the last ninety years hadn’t happened. But they did happen. There’s a bit of forties Streamline Moderne across the street and glass skyscrapers all around. The neighborhood changed. But this still stands. ~ Tuesday, January 14, 2020

City Living: Los Angeles – Figueroa Street – named for José Figueroa, governor of Alta California from 1833 to 1835 – at Olympic Boulevard – named for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games – but times change. This is now South Park – Staples Center and the Grammy Museum and new tall glass towers – luxury hotels and luxury apartments and condominiums. The old stuff is hemmed in. The pretty people live here now. ~ Monday, January 13, 2020

The Winter Colors: The quiet of winter in Los Angeles is full of color. These are in the gardens. This is as wintery as it gets. ~ Saturday, January 11, 2020

Up in Hollywood: This is Sunset Boulevard at Cahuenga – Larry King Square at the big CNN building – on a bright winter afternoon – looking up at things. The winter light transformed the place. ~ Friday, January 10, 2020

Winter Arts: This is winter on Melrose Avenue at Vista Street. It is rather stark, but the light and the colors are dramatic. Who needs snow? ~ Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mystery Enough: There’s Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” – just sitting and watching and wondering and pointing his camera out the window. He thought he saw a murder. It’s not like that here in Hollywood. Point the camera out the window and there’s this – dramatic trails in the startling skies. What is happening up there? That’s enough of a mystery. And no, Grace Kelly doesn’t drop by. ~ Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Sky City: The cold winter Santa Ana winds are blowing through the city, shaking the steel and glass towers. The sky is odd. Los Angeles is mysterious once again. ~ Tuesday, January 7, 2020

On Cosmo Street: At the corner of Cosmo Street and Selma Avenue – “Liberate Hollywood is a healing, sacred and safe space designed to liberate individuals, communities and the world, a place of strong community to unite as one divine humanity to heal, love, transform, vibe, energize, educate, learn, create, be inspired, be intellectually stimulated, start great conversations, rediscover our passions, share and to enjoy, a place to bond with like-minded and high vibration new friends and colleagues all within the protective walls of a famous former sound studio.” … It’s next door to the original Sound Factory from the sixties, still in operation and now part of Sunset Sound. Linda Ronstadt recorded most of her stuff here. So did Marvin Gaye and Gram Parsons and just about everyone else. This is a curious corner. ~ Monday, January 6, 2020

The Perpetual Parade: The Parade of Roses in Pasadena wrapped up for another year. The floats are gone. But in Los Angeles the general parade of roses just goes on and on. The year opened with this. ~ Saturday, January 4, 2020

Winter Trees: A quiet winter afternoon at Barnsdall Art Park at the east end of Hollywood Boulevard will make everything all better. Winter trees here in the west make everything all better. ~ Friday, January 3, 2020

Surrounding the Past: Old stuff at Romaine and Orange, Howard Hughes’ old headquarters from when he was into movies, back when he bought RKO Pictures just for the hell of it and filmed “The Outlaw” (with the newly cantilevered Jane Russell) around the corner at what is now the very white Siren Studios. Some of the old stuff is still around. But it’s surrounded by new stuff. It always is. Hollywood is always in transition. ~ Thursday, January 2, 2020

First Light: This is a good sign. The light was good on the first day of the year, and the first day of a new decade. People were out and about. This is Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, and Palisades Park above it, on Ocean Avenue. And the view out across the Pacific is endless. This may be a good year. ~ Wednesday, January 1, 2020