Los Angeles Contrasts
February with the movie stars: Marta’s long time friend Igor Maltagliati is bringing Italian talent to the States and we’ve been invited to the presentation of his new movie ‘Tutto Liscio’ at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. If you live in the US, well you’ve missed the chance but if you travel or live in Italy try and go to the theaters because it’s really worth it!
The Chinese Theater is the sacred temple of the cinematographic art and is where you find footprints and signatures left in the concrete by the big calibers of the show business of all the times.
Let’s move one step back: we fly from Houston on Friday evening – no luggage with us: just my backpack with the cameras. For this trip we bring Marta’s Canon 550 with the Canon 24-105 f/4 L and the Fuji X-T1 with the Fujinon 35mm f/2 and the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4.
The Canon gear performed great as usual: the 24-104 offers a versatility that pays-back for all it’s weight. Yes: it’s heavy but it’s a work-horse like nothing. Hopefully Marta will publish more soon and for now here you have her point of view as well!!
I preferred the Fuji X-T1 for space/weight reasons and to try and get some close-ups of the people we’d met. The mix of 23 and 35 mm only apparently too close each other (they are VERY different lenses) allowed me to sneak into the crowd without being noticed and take some of the candid shots you see at the bottom of this post, in rather difficult and embarassing situations. No chance I could do the same with a bigger camera.
For the post-pro I chose Skylum Luminar with a colour-enhancing look for the first set of pictures. I used Adobe Lightroom with a Kodak Ektar 100 simulation preset from VSCO to give a hard-melancholic effect for the second set of pictures.
Land in LA, call Uber and go to Venice Beach – that’s where Marta found a fantastic hotel (Air Venice) at the right price and our ‘right price’ is generally very much on the cheap side: we got a double room Ocean view on offer for a fraction of the usual price in the heart of this Paradise of Contrasts. Pushed by a wild hunger, Delta’s airline snacks where not enough to us, we commit a mortal sin: enter a restaurant in Malibu with no clue of the prices. The food was great, please be gentle and never ask me about the check. Tired, we head back home ready for a Saturday on the road and a Sunday with the Stars!!
The next day we wake-up and realize immediately why California is California: we look out of the window and exclaim extatically at the view of the Ocean. The quality of the picuture is affected by the mosquito net but should give you an idea of what I mean.
Breakfast is not breakfast for an Italian unless a cappuccino is on the table: the bar, Italian name, is around the corner. Look and taste are like the original we left in our hometown, the price, well, no comment.
Everything is cool in LA, storms of electric scooters wait for you on the boardwalk, pay per use with an app and drop it anywhere you want. Everyone is in shape, beautiful, vegetarian, hi-tech and open-minded…
The other face of this story
There’s another face of this story, another Venice, another Hollywood, another LA where people is not classy, healty and rich. They live side by side in a parallel flow, a stream that meets and melts in the street under the apparently indifferent look of the tourist, of the fellow citizens (but not of the photographer!). Storms of homless, junkies from the 60s, mariuana smokers and substance addicted drag their feet in a characteristic stroll much slower and wobbling than the secure pace of the healty runners. They sleep in tents camped right in front of the shops, wake up early in the morning to sell their goods, to perform a crooked dance, or just to sit in a corner begging. There’s minimal interaction, there’s no percieved risk or safety concern: it’s the normal flow of life in this part of town.
Click on any picture below to see the Gallery!