The Long Haul to LA

2

There are two types of people: those who have been to LA, and those who haven't.

If you haven’t, then LA is the place in the movies, a place of inscrutable wealth and poverty, fame and obscurity. We came to LA as virgins, eager to understand whether it was somewhere we would hate (the driving! The endless driving!) or love (Silver Lake, Venice, downtown).

The truth is that LA isn’t one city, it’s many. In some of them we found beauty and a sense of belonging. We reenacted scenes from 500 Days of Summer at Angel’s Knoll, marveled at the view from the architecturally astounding Getty Center. We hipstered our way around West Sunset, hoping to catch a glimpse of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brian Aubert or the ghost of Anaïs Nin.

Other times we slogged through the endless suburbs and wondered how any city could be so vast, yet have no real heart, and as we crossed over the hills into the Valley, another new world opened up before us.

LA was the last stop on our California trip. We had started in San Francisco and Napa, places we knew, whose charms were already memories before we arrived. Then, on the drive down, we were prepared to be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the Pacific coastline and we weren’t disappointed, but we also weren’t surprised. In LA we had to confront the unknown. Friends of ours were betting on whether we would like LA or not. Some said Melissa would, but Tom wouldn’t. Others said we’d both hate it.

Ultimately LA is about contradictions. If you live in Venice or Santa Monica you can walk to the beach, but you might have to drive for an hour to see friends a couple of miles away in Hollywood. We found ourselves alternately delighted and disappointed by the city, a pattern that seems to be mimicked by the fortunes of its aspiring inhabitants, waiting tables one day but with the hope of being plucked for stardom the next.

The final truth about LA is that we saw very little of it. We only strayed south of the 10 to go to the airport. It’s such an unimaginably vast city that it seems impossible to ever know it fully, even if you were born and bred. LA, it seems, will always be an enigma, but I’m sure we’ll be back to try to unravel a little more of it.

Read Thom and Melissa’s LomoAmigo feature and their The Long Haul Project articles.

written by thelonghaulproject on 2011-08-15 in #lifestyle #the-long-haul-project #projects

2 Comments

  1. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    So true about it being a place of contradictions. Love LA. It's a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away.

  2. medeaviii
    medeaviii ·

    this is great! I am always interested in what visitors have to say about this city... seems you got a good understanding of it :)
    I was born and raised in LA (still live here) and yet, there are so many places and neighborhoods I am not familiar with. Vast was a perfect word to describe it :)

More Interesting Articles

  • Solo Biking Routes: Ubud in Bali, Indonesia

    written by adi_totp on 2014-07-30 in #world #locations
    Solo Biking Routes: Ubud in Bali, Indonesia

    Have you all watched "Eat, Pray, Love"? I was inspired by Julia Roberts, who rode a bicycle in that movie, so I decided to rent one and try it myself! This happened two years ago but I still remember my biking route. To all of you who haven't been to Ubud, I think you should visit the place and try to go around in a bicycle!

    7
  • The Lomo'Instant x Kickstarter Project Ends Soon - Last Chance to Pledge!

    written by shhquiet on 2014-06-24 in #news
    The Lomo'Instant x Kickstarter Project Ends Soon - Last Chance to Pledge!

    Thank you to everyone so far that has extended their support to our Lomo'Instant Camera x Kickstarter project. To those who haven't pledged, we would like to remind you that you have a few days left to take advantage of great savings and exclusive rewards. The Lomo'Instant x Kickstarter Project ends on Friday (27th June) so act fast!

  • The World According to Herr Willie: The Amazon

    written by wil6ka on 2015-04-09 in #world #locations
    The World According to Herr Willie: The Amazon

    It was the Amazon which I had longed for my whole life. And when it was finally a set deal that I will travel to Brazil with two of my best friends for the Copa do Mundo (World Cup), we really had to start our adventure in the Amazon. I had known about this magical place deep in the rainforest. There was a lodge run by local people of indigenous background, with wooden houses that float on the water and a limited number of visitors. It was eco-tourism as how it should be. To preserve and to celebrate one of the most impressive locations I have seen so far.

    6
  • Shop News

    LC-Wide Elite Kit

    LC-Wide Elite Kit

    The LC-Wide Elite Kit gathers all the accessories you would ever need for your Lomo LC-Wide.

  • Into Wet Collodion Territory with Alex Timmermans

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-12 in #lifestyle
    Into Wet Collodion Territory with Alex Timmermans

    Photography has progressed into a myriad of processes and genres but there are still some people who passionately create imagery using the traditional tools that started it all. Photographer Alex Timmermans is one of those them. See his wet collodion photographs after the jump.

    2
  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Victoria Schofield

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-09-30 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Victoria Schofield

    There are a lot of talented people who work at Lomography Gallery Soho and Victoria Schofield is no exception to that rule. She is a student who has already built an extensive portfolio of photographs and is serious about music photography. We lent her a Petzval lens to test over the weekend and here are the results.

  • 12 Months, 12 Projects: February - Nighttime Traffic

    written by Maaike van Stratum on 2015-03-11 in #world #lifestyle
    12 Months, 12 Projects: February - Nighttime Traffic

    My list of resolutions for 2015 consists of 12 projects, one for every month. In February, I wanted to take one of those long exposure night shots of traffic. You know the type: nighttime cityscape, with bright red and white stripes where traffic passes. I love those shots, but I had never gotten around taking one.

    3
  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Transient Living: The Craft and the Craftsmen of Denver, Colorado

    written by maliha on 2014-12-10 in #world #locations
    Transient Living: The Craft and the Craftsmen of Denver, Colorado

    The people of a city, to me, speak volumes about its culture and sense of community. And that is why I sought out the people who make Denver that much more interesting after the initial period of settling down. My search lead to a few establishments that have contributed to making Denver what it is today. In the second story on Transient Living, I present to you two of such establishments: The Craftsman & Apprentice, and A Small Print Shop.

    2
  • LC-A Goes To: Saint Petersburg, Russia

    written by chooolss on 2014-06-05 in #world #locations
    LC-A Goes To: Saint Petersburg, Russia

    As the iconic LC-A celebrates its 30th birthday this month, we think it's only timely that we look back to Lomography's roots and shine the spotlight on the camera's birthplace, Saint Petersburg. If you haven't been there yourself, or if you have and simply wanted to be reminded of the beauty of the place, we've compiled a few select lomographs taken using no less than the LC-A by our community members!

  • Start Your Petzval Artefacts Collection

    written by andie_sollmer on 2014-09-02 in #news
    Start Your Petzval Artefacts Collection

    For those of you who haven't had enough of the dashing Petzval Lens, wait no longer, for there is more in store for you! You can now start collecting Petzval Artefacts!

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • An Afternoon in Tagaytay Highlands

    written by stitch on 2014-07-28 in #world #locations
    An Afternoon in Tagaytay Highlands

    I have good memories of Tagaytay Highlands. There had been times when some of my friends and I would spend the weekend there, playing all sorts of sports and having our bodies healed in the warm and lapping jacuzzi pool. But those were distant memories. I was able to go back to this place, but only for an afternoon, and tried to remember the good old days.

  • Photo of the Day by wil6ka

    written by chooolss on 2015-01-07 in #news
    Photo of the Day by wil6ka

    Lucky are those who found kindred souls to share their dreams and passions with. This lovely photography by wil6ka is our Photo of the Day!

    2
  • A Weekend of Cosplay Competitions

    written by antoniocastello on 2014-10-21 in #news
    A Weekend of Cosplay Competitions

    There is a weekend in New York where the city streets look like an alternate universe, full of fantastic characters and people who seem to have walked out of a comic book or a movie. This weekend is the NY Comic Con weekend and people from everywhere come to one of the biggest comic convention to be part of one of the biggest Cosplay competitions.