Since we began working with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, I’ve spent many hours looking through the Los Angeles Public Library’s resources. As can be expected, there are too many treasures to be discovered. While I was researching images of the Hollywood sign, I stumbled on to these incredible images by Cheryl Himmelstein. The photographs are part of the Library’s online photo collection. If you want to come to Los Angeles, and you want to know what it’s really like, go there.
People outside of southern California have a couple of ideas about Los Angeles. Either everyone here is smoking pot, surfing, and almost comatose, or everyone is packing a gun and flashing gang signals. I’ve been here a long time, and outside of movies, I’ve never met anyone in either group. However, I will admit that I was forced to take a detour this morning due to movie filming at the Greyhound station. And I did see a Jennifer Lopez impersonator in a suspicious white van this morning.
Himmelstein’s images depict a reality without pandering or any sense of condescension. She documents a Los Angeles that is a salad bowl of cultures. But the pivotal element here is the light. Himmelstein doesn’t just shoot the subject, she captures the ephemeral and fleeting light of Los Angeles.