Monday, January 12, 2015

Where Is L.A.?

The normal view of our eye is oval, yet I don't know of any cameras that take photos in the oval or the round.   We are now so accustomed to the views out of straight-sided windows, rectangular photos and our rectangular computer screens, that we don't even remember that our world view is curved.  Camera lens are circular, yet the view we know and have adapted to is the printed rectangular.  As I take photos, I have adjusted by seeing rectangular frames imposed on the world.  Before I even raise the camera, I am looking for the straight edges that will frame the photo.

When I occasionally traveled through Los Angeles many years ago, I was never sure if I saw downtown.  L.A. appeared in my mind as a huge oval punctuated with little groupings of tall buildings, as if it was trying to play a joke on me.  Find me.  Find L.A.  This time I saw the right one from a hillside (confirmed by my friend Art), the smog hiding the buildings as if to still say find me.  Here is the straight view.  L.A. captured in a box.

 I took a few more photos of the long views of Los Angeles, but the photos that I loved were the small carefully framed portraits of plants.  Rectangular frames.  Now when I think of L.A., I have found it in the details.  Rains in Los Angeles had given the vegetation a brightening wash.  Here are a few of my favorite photos taken at Descanso Gardens or from along the canals of Venice:

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