The late Johnnie Cochran entering the Los Angeles County Courthouse at the OJ Simpson murder trial, February 1995. Photographed by Port City Studios.
Documenting the Decade
Port City Studios is featured in the New York Times, with a photograph from Baghdad, Iraq regarding the capture of
Saddam Hussein, December 2003.
Framed photographs make beautiful gifts and look equally beautiful on the wall. Port City Studios, an online gallery of photographic art, will ship you custom printed photographs, framed in a white matte at no extra charge. We utilize Paypal as a demonstration of our integrity and to keep costs down.
Port City Studios offers a collection of photographs which, except for a series on Hurricane Katrina recovery, revolve around life in Los Angeles, a vibrant, ever changing city of some three million people, still referred to as "this town" by its residents. Events broadcast worldwide out of Los Angeles interact with it's residents in ways that are routine yet oddly surreal. We recall our neighbor, a helicopter pilot, who some years back spent part of his workday shuttling Michael Jackson's attorneys up to his ranch to, presumably, negotiate a settlement on his behalf. Plumbers, "average Joes," to use someone else's term, routinely fix the plumbing in homes belonging to celebrities. LA residents drive to work past movie shoots while grumbling at traffic tie-ups; actors are thrilled to have earned "three days work." Its timeless in a way.
This is where the photographer steps in, to recognize visually what makes a city like Los Angeles so extraordinary. The city's landscape is beautiful, framed by palm trees, a surprising number of hills and mountains, some extraordinary Mediterranean architecture, and of course, the beautiful Pacific coast. LA residents drive past the HOLLYWOOD sign, past Culver City movie studios, through Malibu, past NBC Studios in Burbank, past CBS Television City on Fairfax Avenue. They do so on their way to the bank, on their way to the supermarket. It falls to the photographer to capture the oddities of these moments - because if life is moving at the speed of light, then someone should really focus on the speed of film.
One thing that Los Angeles does very well is disrespect its landmarks and its history. Preserving Los Angeles history flies in the face of real estate development, gets in the way of building bigger, newer, and "adding value." One senses that if the Leaning Tower of Pisa had been located in Los Angeles, it would have been leveled to make way for a parking structure, a mini-mall, a movie-plex.
With that in mind, Port City Studios sought, beginning in 1987, to photograph Los Angeles and Hollywood landmarks that were beginning to fall in annoying frequency. It all began in 1983 in our memory, with the destruction of Schwab's Drug Store, a famous Hollywood hangout, featured briefly in the great film Sunset Boulevard. Around that same time the Brown Derby Restaurant on historic Wilshire Boulevard, built in the shape of - yes, a brown derby hat, was destroyed, well, relocated to: the roof of a new shopping plaza as an attraction. More recently the historic Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove - around since the inception of the Academy Awards, were destroyed to make room for a school. Perhaps that sums up the level of our political debate in the United States: do you want a nightclub or do you want a school? Apparently we can no longer have both. Best to get out your camera. We did, and our work is offered to you as a collection.
Enjoy your time scrolling through this gallery, as you might stroll through a local museum or art gallery. Each photograph is accompanied by a writeup or description to help place the photograph - and you - in a special time or place. And for any assistance, we're just an email or tweet away:
"...Port City Studios sought, beginning in 1987, to photograph Los Angeles and Hollywood landmarks that were beginning to fall in annoying frequency."
Yahoo's technical support to this web site has been outstanding and is highly recommended.
This site is managed by an Iraq War veteran. This site respects, and will not degrade, the office of the President of the United States.
If you make no other choice in life, choose to do the Landmark Forum. It will transform your life in now unimaginable ways.