In the late 1960s, a group of architects, photographers and psychologists converged to disrupt the way academia thought about city life. The media collective, which went by the name Environmental Communications, set out to photograph unconventional architecture and urban culture around the world.
Los Angeles was one of the group's main subjects — members snapped photos on the street and from blimps that soared high above the megalopolis. In these images, Los Angeles reveals its everyday look, a far cry from the buttoned-up architectural photographs that portrayed a rarefied world of cathedrals, government buildings and luxurious residences. Instead, they captured photos of corner strip malls, parking lots and movie theaters, while documenting billboards, murals and neon signs.
Environmental Communications then submitted its photos to university slide libraries — long before the internet, universities taught students by projecting slides in classes — as an iconoclastic comment on culture. By capturing street scenes, they were able to show how people really lived in cities, eschewing the lofty ideals of city planners and architects who dreamed of a utopian future.
As part of the exhibition Environmental Communications: Contact High on view at LAXART from Feb. 18-April 1, here are some of the group's photos of Los Angeles street scenes, Japanese inflatable structures and snapshots from countercultural movements of the 1960s.
Shot over the course of roughly three years, Tino Razo's photo book Party in the Back chronicles the skater-turned-photographer's experience of a resurgent but largely invisible skate subculture that's as much a part of Southern California's DNA as towering Mexican fan palms and corner doughnut shops.
The images, presented without captions, trace a path through the backyards of abandoned midcentury mansions in the Hollywood Hills and modest ranch homes in the San Fernando Valley out to a demolished nudist colony near Palm Springs.
Razo's book is being released on Feb. 21 by Anthology Books.
It can be hard to find your footing in the loosely networked sprawl of Los Angeles, but when Bay Area photographer Parker Day moved here in 2015, she used social media to curate a community. Using Instagram as her guide to an eclectic cast of local freaks, Day found a...
When my parents moved to California in 1978, my dad didn’t want to go. My mother had landed a job as a professor here, but my dad was just getting established as a photographer in New York. So my mom told him that he could pick what neighborhood they would live in, and he chose Venice, which was still affordable back then.
On weekends, my dad would take his camera to the boardwalk and photograph the scene, which in fact had just become a scene, thanks to a newly installed bike path, the rise of disco music and the invention of the polyurethane wheel, which made rollerskating on the street viable. I was born in the summer of 1979, and my dad used to push me along in a stroller and photograph everyone hanging out there — the rollerskaters, the body builders, the sunbathers, the sidewalk vendors, the street performers, the daredevils, the musicians, the dope smokers, the hippies, the derelicts. My dad says they all knew me as a baby — except they all pronounced my name wrong.
We moved to the Pico/Fairfax area shortly after I turned 1. About 10 years later, I went back to the Venice boardwalk with my dad. I distinctly remember a shirtless Jamaican guy in Rollerblades and short shorts walking up to us, greeting my dad and pointing at me, saying, “My God. Is this El El?”
My dad was lucky enough to be there as the modern boardwalk was being born. These never-before-published photos capture, I think, not only the boardwalk as it was back then but the boardwalk that lives on in our collective memory.
It was another great year for live music in Los Angeles, and our photographers were there to capture all the action, including amazing shows from Metallica, Haim, Die Antwoord, Drake, Coldplay, Dillinger Escape Plan, Justin Bieber, Anthrax and many more. Here are our favorite photos they shot in 2016.
In contemporary art history, every great photographer seems to point to a specific lesson or genre. Mention street photography and you get names like Henri Cartier-Bresson and the idea of the Decisive Moment. Bring up Lee Friedlander and you get discussions on shadows and the social context of photos. Working...