Friday, May 12, 2017

Hodgepodge 195/365 - L.A. Light

Lawrence Weschler wrote an essay about the amazing light of L.A. (or maybe Southern California more broadly) that has remained with me. It's called "L.A. Glows" and was published first in the New Yorker in 1998, then in his 2004 essay collection Vermeer in Bosnia (as "The Light of L.A.).

Last year, Weschler revisited that subject in a video created by the New Yorker. You can watch it here.

I was reminded of that piece this morning while walking in Venice: a woman in a white gauze shirt and skinny jeans stepped out of the shade of a colonnade into the light, and it was like an angel being touched by the light of heaven.

Okay, perhaps I exaggerate—but really: she did seem to glow. It was beautiful. She was beautiful. Life was beautiful.

Ocean Park, No. 67 (1973)
When I think of that light, I think also of Richard Diebenkorn and his "Ocean Park" series, which marked a distinctive break, or abrupt evolution maybe more like, from his earlier work. Begun when he moved to Santa Monica in 1967 at the age of forty-five, the series wasn't about light per se, but light certainly informs the mood of those 135 or so paintings completed over the course of the next eighteen years.

I also think of the British artist David Hockney, who lived in L.A. in the 1960s and continues to maintain a residence and office here. The place performed a different sort of magic than his Yorkshire home, and some of that was in the light.

Me, I took some photos today, inspired in part by the light here. It's not easy, perhaps not even possible, to capture that light. You pretty much have to be here and exist within its shimmer to appreciate it. But here are those shots (all of which I messed with to some degree).

The view from our hotel window
Santa Monica Pier and bike path
Bike path under Santa Monica Pier
Pacific Park ferris wheel
Pacific Park game
Ashland Avenue rest station
Palm trees everywhere, and everywhere shadows

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