LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER
A PERSONAL APROACH TO A CITY HIDDEN BY CLICHES
Los Angeles is one of the most fascinating places and its greatest features are hidden to the casual observer, especially if this observer is from Europe or Asia. This city does not have the structure of traditional cities in Europe or Asia.
The Island City
Los Angeles is like a sea, an ocean of little houses and traffic. But this is not what the city is about. It's the islands that you are going for.
As a photographer who has lived in this city for over twenty years I have found my islands, forests, deserts, old and quiet city areas, shores and beaches unknown to the crowds, mountain tops and hilltops that give solitude and contemplation that is so different from the everything is fake reputation of this city.
Night atmosphere in downtown Los Angeles.
A Los Angeles Photographer
Discovering the Real behind the Fake
The coat of fake is Los Angeles's the perfect camouflage. In a city where the general population is louder than in almost every other city in the Western world, the quiet parts are well hidden.
You have to earn the right to discover the quiet areas of Los Angeles. That's where the wonderful climate and the moments of peace join in perfection.
I was born in Germany and grew up in Vienna, Austria. I have also lived in Berlin and Paris and when I made a trip through Europe in 2020, just before they hysteric breakdown of everything, I still loved Vienna, Firenze, Milan and Paris. But they are missing something Los Angeles has aplenty: space.
Photographing Los Angeles
There is likely no other city where you can photograph on desert dunes and in a deserted ghost town one day, in a pine forest the next and in a hundred year old inner city section the day after.
You can go from the sand of the beach to islands and dense redwood forests in minimal travel time and create a cosmos within one project. There are classic cars and excellent 20th century architecture by Adolph Loss and Richard Neutra and many other architects.
The trick is to not aim for the surface of which a great deal is available. But those are the modern cities: much ugliness and islands of beauty and peace that are treated as secrets.
The old movie theater
The Secret Photography Locations of Los Angeles
Here is a list of the known parts of the city beneath. For each of them I have found great locations that are wonderful to photography in.
(work in progress, to be continued)
Downtown Los Angeles
Hollywood and West Hollywood
Industrial areas on the coast and in the north
Pacific Palisades including beaches
Malibu beaches and mountains
Photoshoots and Photo Production in Los Angeles
Here is a primer to photographing in Los Angeles and avoiding kitsch and cliche.
The moment I begin with is the story and the feel of it. I think of my own personal experiences and what I have seen in my years of exploring the city and the environs. But what if you a newcomer?
It is better to just point your nose into one direction and drive or walk and find locations on your own. Avoid all recommendations for photo spots especially when containing the name "Instagram" in the headline. This is a guarantee for kitsch.
When I research a city for photography I have never been in I look for landscapes and architectures that are to my taste. The same thing can be done in Milan or Paris, New York or Los Angeles. If you make it personal then you are already ahead of the game.
Los Angeles has to be taken on personal because the cliches this city has collected around itself like the most gigantic landfill hides all the beauty. That is: you don't have to avoid the well-known locations if you have a good reason to use one and have your own, personal approach. Even well-known locations like the Malibu pier have poetic moments at certain times of the day if you avoid the busy weekends.
Wilderness in LA