Hooray for Hollywood

Some places exist beyond the physical confines of their geography. They exist in the mind, in the spirit. They have a soul. There are streets I walk that tell their stories: of the history they experienced. Their heartaches. Their triumphs. Their dreams. 

Last month, I started walking around Hollywood. I’ve never spent much time there. I didn’t like the dirt. It’s gritty. The star-studded streets, steam cleaned every morning, reek of humanity and its attended smells. Costumed performers hustle on the sidewalk, rubbing elbows with missionaries and misfits. Buses belch forth hordes of camera toting tourists, who wander bewildered through its streets like survivors of a plague. It’s the place of dreams and nightmares, and on its streets I believe in angels and demons. I love it. I hate it. I record it like an obsession.

The concept for this is Hollywood: The place, the idea, the state of being. Using my Diana camera and the technique of double exposures, I walk the streets of this Oz in search of my own Wizard, and embrace the temporal and psychological distortion that comes with ingesting the heady concoction of promise and despair. 

My intent is to explore the mundane details, the “slightest of subjects*” that reveal the soul of this place. These images document the hallucination that is Hollywood: the place where the streets have eyes and where the stars are at your feet instead of the sky, the place where people fall prostrate on their knees worshiping idols, the city of silver masks and impenetrable isolation. It’s a place of incredible spirituality, and of incredible beauty. It intoxicates. 

These images were captured over a series of weeks at different times of the day. The in-between times, dusk and dawn. The times when the soft Southern California light wraps its velvet smooth arms around me and seems to whisper its siren call. Walking through Hollywood, I believe I have it all. I divorce my senses and surrender to the trip. For a minute, I almost believe. Then I feel the yearning maw of millions of unfulfilled dreams. And I shoot.  

*Cotton, Charlotte. "Something and Nothing." The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. 114-36. Print