Fine & Performing Arts

Here and then

The Huntington Library in San Marino launched its showcase of This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in L.A. Photographs. The showcase which runs until Sept. 15 presents photos of the city of Los Angeles spanning 150 years from an 1877 picture of Santa Monica taken by Carleton Watkins, to Catherine Opie’s 2004 print of Oliver in a Tutu.    It seems difficult to picture Los Angeles without all the lights, buildings, traffic, and freeways. But the new exhibit at the Huntington Library gives visitors a fresh perspective of a much-photographed city that everyone is familiar with, tracing its history and glamour through unique photographs.
    The exhibit features over 200 works from photographers like William Henry Jackson, Imogene Cunningham, Edward Weston, and many more contemporary photographers.     The journey through L.A. photography begins at the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, a small two-room foyer featuring snap-shots of various cities in the Los Angeles Metro — which today would be unrecognizable by all the construction “updates” in towns like Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Hollywood over the years.  One particular photograph of what Signal Hill looked like at the turn of the century is a stark contrast to the city of Long Beach today. The photograph depicts numerous oil towers once planted in Signal Hill.       From the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, more photography is displayed along the winding garden walkways. The photos are mouted on large boards and seemingly grow from the ground as a part of the garden somehow. Plant labels stuck in the soil beside the photographs reveal the artist’s name.     This unique and inspiring exhibit gives visitors a glimpse into the history of Los Angeles through the eyes of photographers.

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