Los Angeles | California
Life Under COVID in the City of Angels
As recent Los Angeles transplant I've come to learn about my new city by photographing it - each weekend it's a new diner or film site or iconic house, and all the goofy tourist and cultural traps around and in between. I love it all.
As with everywhere the transition from pre-COVID life to awareness-then-shutdown was palpable: empty shelves and malls, quiet freeways and ghost town landmarks. When the city shut down, I saw an opportunity to capture it in a way that just wasn't possible on a regular day: quiet and empty.
What started as short pre-curfew outings around the West Valley became longer all-night treks across town, checking off locations I've wanted to shoot sans traffic and exploring themes within that, like shuttered movie palaces and panoramic streetscapes -- most of which look their best from the middle of six-lane grand boulevards.
Increasingly these treks captured vandalism and looting as BLM / Floyd protests began, then recovery on a municipal and community level.
And increasingly the series became less objective and accepted the COVID / protest gut punch as defining features of the city during this time. I also shot several protests and some of the early rioting and looting downtown (Fairfax BLM protest series here), though my focus here is on building a snapshot of the city itself.
This project inspired a series of works by NY-based artist and longtime-collaborator Brian Alfred, which I then took and animated to a track by London-based electronic artist Four Tet. A teaser for the resulting short film can be seen above, and the full version on my project page here, or on Vimeo.
Included below are some of the original photos graced by Brian's work.