Lost & Found In Los Angeles by Andres T

“20 years in the same city, still don’t know my way around,
I still get lost inside of my thoughts.” Eyedea, “Weird Side”

I have a confession to make. I get lost. All the time. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I’ve finally come to terms with that disappointing fact. Ever since I was a little kid, I didn’t really care about directions.

Some people are awesome with directions. “Where are you going?” “Los Angeles.” “Oh. Perfect. Head South here. West there. East on this highway. Go North for a mile. Jump on this other other highway. Head South for 3 miles. Bam, you’re there.” Never cared about that stuff.

So, I can’t really give you a guided tour of these streets. I wish I could tell you to hit Spring Street or 6th Street, but I never really remember exactly which street is which. I kind of know how to find myself in these streets, but it’s hard to name them. As a photographer, that has been an interesting fact to deal with. GPS became incredibly handy, but sometimes, I toss that out the window too. I just rely on the wind and instinct to guide me.

Four Corners Of Architecture

That was the case on this calm morning. It was colder than usual for Los Angeles and the clouds looked like they were decorating the sky. I drove to where I usually go for peaceful Saturday or Sunday morning shoots and since I don’t really pay attention to street names, I can just say that it’s really close to the steel-palace that is Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Concert Hall’s website says it’s on Grand Avenue and that’s really close to the new Grand Park, so that makes sense. Anyway, near there, a really cool architectural gem stands above the street. One day a couple of years ago, I was driving to school nearby and thought I saw this. It was unbelievable. I hadn’t seen any pictures of it before because I wasn’t following too many Los Angeles photographers. I didn’t know I would find this there. I just stopped my car in the middle of street. Thankfully, it was an early morning class and no cars were coming. It’s not like I cared anyway. Instead, I just looked out of my car window towards the sky. There it was. Four buildings. Perfect. So, I went back to this spot for this photo journal because it’s still a really cool place, especially when the weather allows for this type of light. The original photograph is still my profile picture on Instagram and I’m not sure if that will ever change. Constantly reminds me to look around, look down and look up when shooting. Here’s a more recent shot I took at this place…with the Nokia Lumia 920.

 Walking For Peace

After taking this shot, I thought I needed to park. I usually park in the same place because I’m a creature of habit. Plus parking in Los  Angeles can be a painful journey. But, I park somewhere behind this pretty cool fountain and walk around. Because it’s usually early in the AM, I don’t have to pay the arm and/or leg that I normally would need to shell out for parking. So, after parking, I head over to that cool fountain, which is “Peace on Earth” by Jacques Lipchitz, according to a little Google search. The piece is pretty cool and it’s one of my favorite parts of Downtown L.A. I remember seeing it a few years ago and I loved how the water created an interesting contrast. You can see a shot of this below.

Walking Around Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walking around Walt Disney Concert Hall is almost always interesting. Nearly every time I walk around this space, I find a different angle, a new perspective for my shots. Sometimes, I replicate a shot, but the weather always changes the effect of said shot. In this case, the clouds really added some depth to everything. The light was just right. Having the Nokia in my hand also gave me a different way to see this space because I had never shot with this phone before. The display on the phone is large so I could see what I was shooting differently. Changing up the tools to shoot with can have that effect and this definitely served as a great eye-opener this morning.

 Driving Around Downtown

People in Los Angeles usually drive. We walk around a bit (see above), but we generally like to drive. So, I usually do that around Downtown. On this day, I drove around unusually empty streets. That morning, I stopped whenever I got the chance and shot whatever I really wanted to. Usually, traffic really puts a dent on that, but for whatever reason, traffic wasn’t much of an issue on this morning. So, I drove, stopped, shot and drove some more. Since you just have to tap the screen on the Nokia, it made for a pretty excellent point-and-shoot experience for the drive-by shots.

The Findings

Ever since I started shooting, much of it has been about self-discovery. Some of that self-discovery has been accidental and some of it intentional, but all of it life-altering. That’s why I no longer mind getting lost in the art, lost in photography, lost in the city. By getting lost in all of this, I’ve actually been able to find pieces of myself. The journey continues.