When we think of the landscape, by definition we imagine earthly features of land, plants, and water. But look high above and one may notice a parallel “landscape” up in the sky, an atmospheric cloudscapes as beautiful and varied as its earthen equivalents.
All photos by Calvin Abe
A few weeks ago I wrote about our office’s ongoing photographic exploration of Los Angeles. My own photographic adventure began when I thought about what defined my own definition of Los Angeles: the numerous small businesses that in sum make up the architectural landscape of our city. Angelenos experience and share their culture through the foods, goods, and services offered at these endless number of neighborhood stores and restaurants.
During my assignment I walked through different neighborhoods documenting with my disposable camera the various storefronts that make each neighborhood unique. I witnessed local residents gathering to buy fruit at the neighborhood store, picking up their daily newspaper or a fresh chicken for the evening’s dinner, observing the everyday activities of a community. At the heart of each area, these small business proved integral in creating walkable neighborhoods, helping establish a deep sense of community among their local residents – an essential component in a city as sprawling, expansive, and culturally diverse as Los Angeles.
“Lake Recession” – Lake Tahoe, Nevada; May 17, 2015. Photo by Calvin Abe.
With El Niño now gone, Californians now move onto the strong possibility of a La Niña – “the positive phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and is associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean” – a weather system which will likely exacerbate drought conditions as temperatures climb and humidity drops across the state. Let us hope the Sierra Nevada snowpack can hold out as long as possible…
Lake Tahoe. Photo by Calvin Abe.
Lake Tahoe. Photo by Calvin Abe.
Our office is working on an art installation, a project focusing on the various ways people perceive Los Angeles. We gave each person a disposable film camera with 27 exposures and asked everyone to take photos that best capture what Los Angeles means to them.
As we developed our photos, we realized that each person has a unique perception of the city shaped by their personal experiences, cultural background, the neighborhood they live in, and the amount of time they’ve called Los Angeles “home”. Some people captured images representing our city’s outdoor lifestyle, one afforded by the year around mild weather. Others photographed the local vegetation coloring our landscape. No surprise, the melting pot of food options available across the city was another popular subject matter. A variety of state license plates belonging to transplanted Angelenos and tourists alike, architecture shaped by LA’s car culture, small local business specific to various neighborhoods, and public art were other sources of civic inspiration that found their way recorded on our team’s film rolls.
This diverse album represents the many ways Angelenos experience their daily lives across Los Angeles, reflecting the values and interests that makes the city distinctly different from anywhere else. Each of these photos symbolize the influences that consciously and unconsciously influence our professional work while creating outdoor experiences that best serve the spirit and culture of Los Angeles.