I recently went back downtown to continue a series of abstract photos I’ve been doing of the Los Angeles skyline at night. The first, taken in December, shows the city from the south, while this angle is from the east. This is one of three photos of Los Angeles that I’ll be showing in a group show at the Canal Club during tomorrow night’s Venice Art Crawl. The show, titled “Land of the Lost Angels,” shows a variety of work focusing on the multifaceted city that is Los Angeles. I’ll be showing two other pieces as well: “Padiddle,” which shows L.A. traffic at night, and “Radio Flyer,” which is my Venetian tribute to William Eggleston. Other photographers taking part include Cerreah Laykin, Robert Yager, Eric Tucker & Rae Scarton, Martin Linss, Jeff Cohen, Christopher Soltis, Imps of Marge and Fletch, Jill Augusto, Josue Zeta Rojas and John Chapple. It’s not officially a part of Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA), but we’re sort of piggybacking the event anyway. If you’re in L.A. I hope to see you there!!
This is an image I’ve been sitting on, but thought I’d post in lieu of, or for lack of, a Christmas lights image this year. I shot this over the summer while on an assignment that had me at USC. It started as a happy accident with my setup. Once I saw the effect though I thought it was a unique take on the skyline and kept working it until I came up with something I like. I’m heading to New York next month and will try to repeat it there. Should make a nice collection eventually. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!
It’s great when you find a subject who’s willing to work with you to create a better photo. For example, here’s a recent shot of architectural lighting designer Sean O’Connor that is running in this month’s issue of Architectural Lighting magazine. I had a fun time working with Sean, who runs his own firm in Beverly Hills.
For the assignment, I was pretty much given free reign to shoot photo that somehow conveyed the fact that the subject worked with light. Not knowing what my options were, I called Sean up to find out. At first neither of us had any clear ideas. Sean was reluctant to shooting in his office, but didn’t know of any alternatives that were available at the moment. It wasn’t because there’s anything wrong with it – it’s actually a stylish, loft-style office with plenty of natural light and a view overlooking Wilshire Blvd. – but more due to the fact that it’s been used before and he was interested in doing something different and more creative. So was I. But because he currently had no local projects in or around which to shoot we decided to shoot there anyway, but make the most of it and figure something out on the fly once I arrived. He knew he had a variety of lights and other lighting design tools lying around and was willing to work with me to figure out something that could make an unusual portrait. So often when I’m doing editorial work I’m met with either the challenge of shooting someone who doesn’t want to be in front of the camera or doesn’t want to put in the time to make the photo work. It isn’t always the case, but it’s often enough that it’s refreshing when you find someone willing to participate in the process.
When I got there I looked around for a while before deciding to shoot in his conference room. In a nearby closet he showed me several long ceiling lights that we could use and, liking the texture of the back wall of the conference room, which was made of paneling that allowed him to stick thumbtacks into it, I asked him if we could use it. Problem was, there were about 50 or so sheets of paper that were tacked up to it from a recent project, but fortunately it was finished and he offered to take them down. From there we went around fitting bulbs to the fixtures and arranging the lights so they formed a graphic background for him to stand in front of. We then closed the blinds so there would be no interference from ambient light. From here, my task was to light him in a way that wouldn’t overpower the effect of the strip lights by throwing too much light on the wall, so I fitted a 10-degree grid to a single light and aimed it down on him to cast as much fall off as possible to the floor and out of frame. The end result worked pretty well I thought. We also did a natural light shot in the main office and another one on the roof of the building, overlooking Wilshire and Beverly Hills, but this is the one the editor went with and is among my favorites from the shoot. Yay, collaboration!
I was downtown for an assignment that went bust the other day and figured I better shoot something to make the trek worthwhile. The Disney Concert Hall is as overphotographed a landmark as there is in LA, but I figured I’d rarely seen it in the rain so I hopped out of the car and took a couple shots as people walked by with umbrellas.
My dad and sister were visiting this week, and Erinn and I decided to take them up to the Getty, a must-see for anyone visiting L.A. Thanks to a poor planning job on my part, we failed to realize that they close at 5:30 and arrived to a fairly empty campus with only 40 minutes to go. Despite the short time we had, and thanks to the parking attendant letting us park for free, we decided to check it out anyway and enjoyed a walk around the always beautiful, sometimes surreally perfect grounds and even found time for an interesting exhibit on the book art of the Russian Avant-Garde. Every time I go to the Getty I want to just sit in this spot and shoot people walking in front of the wall. I didn’t have a lot of time, but kind of like the results of this one. Perhaps I’ll try to top it next time. I also enjoyed the wispy cirrus clouds juxtaposed against the hard lines of one of the overhangs in the central plaza.