Monday, 27 July 2015

City of Angels back then...

It's a pity Bruce Davidson doesn't give any indication why Esquire Magazine rejected his LA photo assignment that is the basis of the book. They are very typical of his work, full of detail and intriguing compositions and though only thirty-one at the time he was already a member of Magnum.

This is one of those delightful Steidl books that works on all levels: shape; design; printing with a 175 screen; paper and of course the photos and though there are only twenty-five of them (but with exception of maybe two) I think they deliver LA to the reader. By the nature of the place cars feature in many of the images mixed in with the beach, suggestions of the very pleasant climate and flamboyant commercialism. The photos kick-off with a shot of LAX through a jet's window (also tipped onto the front cover) and the last photo shows a group of senior citizens waiting in a bus station and behind them a list of all the places served, an indication of just how huge the place is, even in 1964.

The Esquire rejects of 1964 come alive fifty-one years later.

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