Photographing The Apartments of South Los Angeles

Photographing The Apartments of South Los Angeles

You’ll have to excuse my absence over the past few weeks: things have just been immensely busy and it’s all I can do to stay on top of my post work. Late nights have never been so frequent!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working on one of the most fun assignments ever: working with a management company to photograph some of LA’s famous dingbatty, mid-century, garden, kitschy apartments. To be honest, the style of architecture is all over on some of these, so if anyone knows what they would technically be called, I would love to hear it. Anyway, these assignments are incredibly rewarding for a number of reasons.

First, they are the complete and total opposite of what I normally shoot. I’m used to shooting homes and offices in tip-top condition; they’re usually straight and true, with no cracks in walls or bars on windows. They’re often in secluded, quiet parts of LA, where I don’t have to put myself or my gear at risk of damage due to cars whizzing past. I usually have to coordinate with one homeowner or building tenant, which makes getting lights on easy. In many cases, there are over 20 tenants who need to get their lights on for us. There are pedestrians and cars everywhere – curious onlookers and the occasional cyclist coming inches from knocking my whole setup over.

We often close down the entire street in front of whatever property we are shooting – which gives us some room to work – but sometimes, this just isn’t possible, so composition can be severly limited. Space is also deceptively tight, here, which means it really needs to be nailed with only one shot per location. The technique here is fairly standard light-duty strobist-type work, but the heavy lifting is really in the post. I’ll get some before and afters up pretty soon (new website in the works) but some of these have hours upon hours of cloning, rebuilding, and, well, imagineering put into them.

Below, a few of my favorites, and soon to come, a whole new batch. When we’re done with the entire lot (20-something of them at last count) I’m going to try to get these into a gallery of sorts or have a book made. It would be cool to see these printed in large format.

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