Last week, I was in Los Angeles to finish up a big piece I’ve been working on that began after a visit to the Getty Museum a year or so ago. After working on the piece in Chicago, I realized that I really had something going, and I needed more images to complete the project. The only way to get what I needed to fulfill my vision was to go back to the Getty and shoot. The piece is coming along great!
Whenever I’m in LA, there are certain things I always do. I lived there for over 20 years, and I go back several times each year to visit galleries, museums, and collectors who own some of my work. This time, I also managed to see some friends and business associates. I always make sure I go to the galleries at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. What I like about the area is that there are a number of galleries that either strictly exhibit photography, or that feature a lot of photographic artists. It’s probably the most concentrated area of galleries in California. I try to visit Peter Fetterman, Frank Pictures, Robert Berman, Shoshana Wayne, and Rose Gallery, among others. They seem to always feature a wide variety of interesting artwork; it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon.
I usually try to visit LACMA and MoCA, but I didn’t make it on this trip. I took two trips to the Getty, and those took up quite some time. The first time I went, the museum was not as crowded as it normally is. Since people are the primary subject of this particular work, the more people, the better… so it necessitated a trip back. For this work, a candid shot is preferable (as opposed to setting up and directing the subject), so you never know if the situation will unfold in front of you rapidly, or at a leisurely pace.
I often get asked whether or not I wish I still lived in LA. You cannot beat the weather, I’ll admit that. However, LA is so spread out, that for the most part, you don’t get that density and centralization that Chicago has. So in that respect, Chicago is more similar to New York City. People often describe of LA as ‘laid back’. Although the people working in LA are certainly as motivated as people in any other place, the atmosphere is definitely more relaxed… but the traffic keeps getting worse and worse. To me, Chicago is a more urban, lively, and invigorating place to live and work. I think that Chicago is a great cross between New York and Los Angeles.