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Courtyards


(010400_12A-14A, West Hollywood, CA 2001)


For years I carried around a small Olympus point and shoot film camera. I liked it because it had good glass and made all the technical decisions easy. I loaded it with high-speed black and white (and sometimes color) film which allowed me to shoot inside and outdoors. I composed through the viewfinder or pointed in the general direction of whatever interested me.


I like to walk. In 2001, I was taking a walk when something caught my eye. It was a courtyard. I took a photo. Something about that image sensitized me to this subject matter. I shot commercial architecture professionally. Maybe there was something in the bygone era architectural details of these older buildings that resonated in my imagination. For the next couple of years, I walked around my neighborhood of West Hollywood and environs, visually recording residential courtyards and bungalow courts.



(023483-29A, West Hollywood, CA 2002)


Built between the early 1900s to the 1950s, courtyard apartment buildings were very popular, particularly around Hollywood and West Hollywood. Those, as well as bungalow courts, the one-story detached or semi-detached cottage type buildings also arranged around a communal courtyard and walkway, would serve an influx of people moving to California in pursuit of their dreams. Film and literature are full of characters born out of the minds of writers who lived in these places.


(141031_011-020-2, West Hollywood, CA 2014)


The shared green space provided an instant sense of community while enabling residents to enjoy the outdoors and the California weather. One can imagine the letters written – especially during the winter - to those back home marveling about the sunshine, the excitement of working on movie sets, and maybe seeing stars.


(018410_2, West Hollywood, CA 2001)


Later versions of these apartment buildings would often include swimming pools, a precursor for the next generation of ubiquitous LA dwellings, the dingbat.



(120427, West Hollywood, CA 2012)

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