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10 Best Alleys in Los Angeles

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Thu, May 12, 2011 at 6:54 AM

click to enlarge FLICKR/REN RENTZ
When he's not working as press secretary for City Councilman Paul Krekorian, Jeremy Oberstein combs the web for pictures of the backstreets of LA, compiling them all into his photography blog, LosAngelesAlleys.com. Now, not only are the blog's images available in a book called Los Angeles Alleys, they're also part of a month-long exhibition at Groundworks Coffee at 108 West 2nd Street downtown, opening tonight at 6:30 p.m., in conjunction with the Downtown L.A. Art Walk.

From Palms and Mid-City to Chinatown and Little Tokyo, Los Angeles Alleys unveils the hidden beauty of the back lanes and passageways of the City of Angels. We asked Oberstein to share ten of his favorite images from the book and the exhibit, and got insights from him and from photographers themselves.

10. Palms

click to enlarge FLICKR/MARK HULBERT

"I took this shot during a brief walk around my neighborhood after a mid-afternoon rainstorm. I waited for a while to see if a person would walk through to add a human element, but, in retrospect, I like the emptiness and feel of the image. This was shot on Delta 400 film with a Leica M7 and 50mm Summicron lens and it was developed in Ilfotec DDX." -- Mark Hulbert

9. Los Feliz

click to enlarge JEREMY OBERSTEIN
  • Jeremy Oberstein

"Two people walk down a street. One goes right, one goes left. One walks on grass, beaten down by years of activity, the other on pavement, pockmarked by cars and trash trucks. One goes home, the other keeps walking, never to be heard from again." -- Oberstein

8. Downtown

click to enlarge FLICKR/DOUG MCCLINTOCK

"I used to live in a loft facing this alley. [It was] 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, prepping for a commercial. I stumbled upon these set up by a cracked out homeless guy during the night. He found them in a dumpster." -- Doug McClintock

7. Olvera Street, Downtown

click to enlarge FLICKR/GARY COHEN

"We'll admit we had never heard of Naud Junction before, but have since learned it's a tiny stretch of real estate in downtown, near Phillippe's," the famed French dipped sandwich restaurant. -- Oberstein

6. Chinatown

click to enlarge ELAINE LAYABOUT
  • Elaine Layabout

"The image was taken three years ago, on August 24, while I was spending my birthday in Chinatown taking street pics...that particular alley is on the north side of 835 N. Broadway, looking toward Tak Shing Hong, which sells Chinese herbs and groceries...It was the golden hour, and the fiery glow of late sun on the red painted bricks made the alley look like a portal to another world...I took an uncharacteristically long time to set up this shot and then took just one, because the moment passed very quickly...I have gone back to that alley several times, but it has never looked the same." -- Elaine Layabout

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