Los Angeles is a surprising city, where many things don’t really seem to make a whole lot of sense. It never appears to rain, but there are green boulevards and lush vegetation. It’s the home of the “stars”, the birth place of the American film industry. But Hollywood Boulevard? It’s dirty, grimy even. Marilyn Munro’s star sits in front of a McDonald’s, an inglorious tribute to one of the most famous products of America (you choose which one). The roads are crawling with black, chromed-out SUVs while the city sits comfortably in a layer of smog. The mansions of Bel Air seem stand in complete denial of a financial crisis. It’s an interesting place.
Before arriving in LA with my family, I didn’t have a good idea of what to expect. What I met with was a set of beautiful contradictions, and a sense that Los Angeles is a city that requires some time to really get to know. Sun and ocean are it’s defining characteristics, with miles of gorgeous pacific coastline to swim, surf, run, bike or just gaze at. But the predominant smog, and surprising realization that anything green is probably irrigated is more than a little disconcerting.
Like most people, I love to take photographs when I travel. If I can get at the essence of a place, it will bring me back to more than just a visual memory of that moment: the sharp and delightful taste of raw garlic in that gazpacho soup, the heat of baking sand on the soles of my feet, the soft aroma of that foreign plant, something reminiscent of rosemary, and that shift in the evening when the air suddenly feels like aloe vera, cooling down my skin.
The photos above are impressions of Los Angeles: colour, light and pattern. I love the way they trigger my memory of the place, even if they are a little “unintentional”…I forgot my camera battery charger at home, and had to resort to using my cell phone camera (with it’s cool pixelating function). Sun, shadows, water, sand, and a little touch of green; my first impressions of the California coast.