what I'm doing, what I'm seeing, what I'm thinking

06/05/2011

Los Angeles

I recently did a two week trip to California and of course took a ridiculous number of photographs given the masses of amazing / bizarre / funny / beautiful stuff to look at. Hard to know where to start - but it might as well be Los Angeles where our trip began and ended - so here's a flavour of that insanely huge city from a London dweller's perspective:

This is so America to me - I love the street signs with their single word announcements - and this was my favourite.


But this is the image which typifies LA to me the most - I just never expected these tall skinny palm trees to be poking up literally all over the city.


Surprisingly very few skyscrapers in Los Angeles - just a clutch in the (apparently manufactured) Downtown district.






The Opera House. In Europe we can only dream of contemporary architecture like this bang in the middle of our cities.


Another surprise was the mountains edging the city - so not-urban.



The Downtown seen from the Griffith Observatory on the edge of the Hollywood Hills - and what you can see in the distance is not the end of LA - it goes on and on and on and on beyond........ To cross the entire conurbation from south to north would be like driving from London to Birmingham!


I thought this was Chinese - til someone kindly explained it means 'pedestrian crossing'!


The major components of the city of Los Angeles are: roads (with as many lanes as possible), cars, road junctions, traffic lights, pylons, high level wires and cables, billboards, palm trees, roads, cars, roads, cars, roads cars....more palm trees.



... oh, and road signs - as previously mentioned.








I loved this low-key Indian cafe with just a few wooden chairs plonked next to the dual carriageway (like road above). The Los Angeles version of the pavement cafe - what's a few lung-fulls of exhaust fumes to the LA native?


I've posted about American signage before - the graphics are often really old fashioned looking, which I like, ..........


....or just huge and dramatic like this - reminiscent of 196os abstract painting.



You'd better believe it - this is the local dog gym! After all, no time to exercise the dog with all those highways and freeways to drive down!


I think this one should concentrate more on its muscle tone and waste less time in the beauty parlour!


A view of Art Deco architecture from our hotel window in Culver City (more on hotel in next post)where some of the early film studios were built.





The disused lot and ex car showroom in these pictures (on Washington Boulevard, Culver City) seemed totally America to me, or in this case of course, LA (it's the palm trees, stupid!).





See what I mean? They're always poking up somewhere.



Interestingly, this is the first trip where I've come back to look at my photos and found that most of them are landscape format rather than portrait which is my natural choice for composition - it's because LA is just all so horizontal.











Algeria meets .. downtown detention centre



The ubiquitous Tacos



We were grateful for this warning when we delivered our car back to the rental agency in Santa Monica, that office did seem extremely suspect from a health and safety point of view!



The Angel Flight - a tiny funicular railway in Downtown, must be the shortest ride ever, great view of the mountains.


I think this might have been the oldest thing we saw in LA.



The missing letter is W for Wilshire, one of the main arteries across the city.



Looking north to the edge of the Hollywood Hills where the city starts to rise up from the flat, desert plain.



Sshhh..... but the contemporary grey house with the balconies belongs to Thomas Downey Jr. I'm def not a celeb spotter but I was just intrigued how these mega stars are liable to plonk their houses in any regular street - in this case between a takeaway cafe and boxing gym - this would hardly ever happen in England.


One block from the Pacific ocean in Venice. Good luck with the evacuation route! I'ts a long, long way til the ground starts to slope uphill.


Venice Beach


Yes, it is extremely tacky

Claus Oldenburg museum building in Venice.



Graffiti definitely not my thing but I liked these elemental, monolithic structures on the beach (you can graffiti by appointment by the way, so American, a good ole rule to be obeyed.)



California garden



Welcome to some of the most - if not the most expensive real estate in California at Malibu. We overlooked this house when we stayed with a friend there........


........and their own personal stretch of the Pacific Ocean. (A bit National Geographic this snap I admit - or is it more Conde Nast Traveller?)






Not my best photo ever I know, but had to be done.



It felt like we spent 80% of our time travelling from place to place across the city and each time we completely underestimated the distances. I reckon a map of Paris, London or Berlin would fit into the Los Angeles city map about 10 times - we just couldn't get our head around the scale.


The famous LA smog



Ending on my favourite road name. I wonder what a 'blackwelder' was - sounds pretty hardcore whatever.
Anyway, that's Los Angeles (or at least a tiny fragment of it) and "what's not to like?" as LA inhabitants repeatedly asked us!

More posts on California coming soon.
Meanwhile, you might also like my other American post:

P.S. Recently my American blogging friend Katie of cool design blog Better Living Through Design asked if I would be the first interviewee for a new section on her blog called 'Creative Types'. Katie came to my studio and we had a great discussion (under the guise of an interview!) about all things visual. READ THE RESULTS HERE

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4 comments:

  1. Wow.. amazing photos and your captions are great, what an eye opener!!

    Pity I missed the Meade Gallery opening, starting out at tea time I realised Warwick from us must be like driving from one side to the other of LA!!

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  2. I just read Katies interview from cover to cover, impressive article and so interesting!!

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  3. Glad you enjoyed L.A. The picture you call the opera house is actually Disney Hall which the symphony calls home. The opera lives at the Dorothy Chandler across the street in an old school building ala the 1960's. It's where I work. Hope you actually made it through some of the older districts of downtown which have some incredible building facades from the early 20th century.

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  4. Wow that is so well blog number of photographs given the masses of amazing / bizarre thanks for share information





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