Ansel Adams – Images of Los Angeles

Ansel Adams at the Los Angeles Public Library

Photo: “The Pup.” Notice that it served French dip sandwiches! Credit: Los Angeles Public Library.


I stopped by the reception for the Ansel Adams show at drkrm, 727 S. Spring St., on Wednesday night to see the photos of Los Angeles as it looked in the 1940s. Unfortunately, I was on my dinner break, so I only had a chance to glance at them briefly and the show is definitely worth more time so I will be back.

Ansel Adams at the Los Angeles Public Library The photos are Adams in his documentary mode and are not like the bravura images of Half Dome for which he is famous. The pictures document workers leaving the Lockheed plant and people’s daily lives in a trailer park.

There is a photo of the famous oil well in the middle of La Cienega Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and 3rd Street, also documented by Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker in “Nuestro Pueblo.” Adams also photographed another vanished landmark, Court Flight, a funicular like Angels Flight, near the old Hall of Records.

The show is on display through March 17. Wednesday’s opening was hosted by Photo Friends of the Los Angeles Public Library, which  is sponsoring monthly lectures:

  • March  10, Kevin Roderick, images of the Valley, 2 p.m. Taper Auditorium.
  • April 18, Ted Soqui and Glynn Martin, Los Angeles Riots, 12:15 p.m., Meeting Room A.
  • May 12, Stefano Bloch, “Painting, Bombing and Buffing L.A.’s Freeway Walls,” 2 p.m., Taper Auditorium.
  • June 9, David Davis, 1932 and 1984 Olympics, 2 p.m., Taper Auditorium.
  • June 13, Bob Seidemann, “The Airplane as Art,” 12:15 p.m., Meeting Room A.
  • Aug. 15, Kevin Knight, 12:15, Meeting Room A.
  • Sept. 15, John Bengtson, silent movie locations, 2 p.m. Taper Auditorium.
  • Oct. 17, Sara Jan Boyers, 12:15 p.m., Meeting Room A.
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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Coming Attractions, Libraries, Nuestro Pueblo, Photography, World War II and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Ansel Adams – Images of Los Angeles

  1. Hi Larry, I think (hope) I mentioned this before but skyscraperforum has a great, long thread (334 pages and counting) called noirish L.A.. It isn’t exactly Shorpy (what is?) but it is L.A. specific and the images are accompanied by thoughtful captioning by the regulars. As luck would have it, Ansel Adams’ Los Angeles documentary work is mentioned on the current page (about halfway down). I highly recommend it. It is here http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=5612459&posted=1#post5612459

  2. A couple of great images of Court Flight in operation (by Adams) on page 326, about 20% down the page.
    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=5597533&highlight=court+flight#post5597533

  3. Sam Flowers says:

    As a constant shorpy.com and forum.skyscraper.com lurker, I must say if you like old time photos these are the best. Forum.skyscraper is focused on L.A. which pleases me to no end. These and Larry’s site are my daily musts.

  4. @Sam, yes, those are pretty much the big three for me, too. I also stop by the ‘gunslinger’ pretty often, lots of old photos and quirky commentary. ‘if charlie parker was a gunslinger, there’d be a whole lot of dead copycats’. Funny, when you look at those four websites, each so unique in its own way and each so compelling. good stuff.

  5. I went to the opening night reception. It was busy inside when we arrived but walked right in. When we finally left there was a long line outside going around the corner. They were limiting the number of viewers at one time. Some friends gave up and never made it. They went to Clifton’s for a movie instead.

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