So I finally got my hands on a copy of Taschen’s new Los Angeles, Portrait of a Cityand have been thoroughly giddy with delight at this truly epic retrospective. Kevin Starr of USC is my personal favorite California historian and his insightful essays give this ever-so-beautiful pictorial history the sort of depth and complexity that is rarely associated with a city known for shallow gloss. But Jim Heimann’s inspired editing, along with Starr’s intimate understanding of this misunderstood city, and David Ulin’s literary intonations (the text is salted with words from Aldoux Huxley, Fitzgerald and the like), gradually unveil the surprisingly complex sociological, political and industrial ramifications that birthed a modern metropolis out of a barren desert.
Since it’s Taschen, the book has a hefty pricetag but if you ever have the opportunity to flip through its pages, please do treat yourself and prepare to be truly impressed with some of the most striking spreads I’ve seen in a long time.
Many of these photos have never before been seen and have been culled from archives and collections and universities all over the world. Some of my favorites are found below.