It had been quite some time since the Justice League of Photographers (JLOP) had been out hunting shutter snaps. But when the call went out to gather Friday night in Hollywood, almost everyone seemed otherwise disposed.
Not me, however. And not Bryan Frank. Which is pretty much how the two of us found ourselves wandering Hollywood Boulevard, Vine Street, and Cahuenga just before and just after midnight last Friday. The crowds seemed substantially smaller than the last time we’d strolled this area a year or 18 months ago, but there were still images to capture.
The goal of these outings, besides camaraderie and conversation, is to motivate ourselves and each other to find the shots not so easily taken, to see with a fresh set of eyes some of the scenery we’ve been over many times in the past.
Seeing with fresh eyes isn’t as hard as it may seem. The last time we’d seen this newsstand, on the east side of Cahuenga just south of Hollywood, there were actual periodicals on the wall rather than the bare painted plywood that’s there now.
There are also the landmarks that haven’t changed, like the Capitol Records building. It has been there since my childhood. The cars that pass on the streets around it have changed, but the building itself looks pretty much like it always has.
The corner of Hollywood and Vine is celebrated on screen and in song, but when you’re standing there, it’s just another place where cement and asphalt meet. Southern California mythology suggests that this is one of the places where “magic” happens; reality is that it’s not one of those places, and there’s probably no “magic,” and if there is, it’s certainly not here.
The shot I kept trying to capture all evening was shoes, and this is as close as I got to realizing the vision. I think I got into the neighborhood, but not to the exact place I needed to get to for this one to really pop.
And then sometimes, there’s the stuff that just jumps out at you while you’re standing on the street corner.
The whole time, I don’t think Bryan and I were more than 25 feet apart, although looking at his snaps for this outing, I’m wondering if we were even in the same city!