| FACES OF LOS ANGELES |

In this photo series, I will be highlighting some of the many faces of Los Angeles, California that I encountered on my first-ever trip to not just LA but California itself.

Accompanied to each photo is some back story for how each photo came to be, as well as a bit of a personal touch of my own. The people highlighted in this series range from both inhabitants and visitors of the City of Angels - population 4 million.

All photos are mine, and all were taken in January 2020. I hope you enjoy!

---

Downtown

Emily is a transplant from Maine currently living in the downtown area of LA, the sister of one of my best friends, and she was also the first to greet me when I arrived to the city!

She’s been living in LA for a few years now, doing work for Americorps (something we have in common) and finishing up her undergraduate degree. I got to check out Angel City Brewery with her and her boyfriend, devour some nachos while the three of us lost at trivia together at another pub, and see the crew & talent of a new show cheer as they watched their premier on the pub TVs.

Huge shout out to Emily for easing me into LA life and giving me some home-like comfort in such a wild, foreign place! You rock dude!!

This was one of the first photos I took of a person in my first day in LA. I had been wandering around downtown after buzzing into it on a Lime scooter from Emily's apartment, and I ended up here - at Angel's Flight Railway. I had heard of this landmark before as I researched things to do in Los Angeles, so it was cool finally discovering it, albeit accidentally. Basically, Angel's Flight is a remarkably short railway on an incline with two funicular cars that transport passengers between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill. While the ride is short, it's nonetheless a fun, almost amusement park-like activity with a lot of history behind it. It's been featured in dozens of movies, including the popular 2016 romantic drama La La Land with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

This gentleman - whose name I regrettably did not acquire - was the operator of the railway, at least for this shift. I loved the lighting on him, and he effused this affability that I really wanted to capture, so I asked him if I could take his photo. He agreed, and this was the result.

I was walking to meet Emily at the bus stop and along the way there was plenty to capture. In the midst of the downtown cacophony I heard a song being played on a violin somewhere, and the song grew louder as I continued walking toward the bus stop. I soon realized it was a Christmas song, and this man was playing it at the entrance of a subway station - despite it being almost halfway through January. He wasn't at all bashful as I snapped a few photos of him, nor did he seem to mind that Christmas was already a couple weeks behind him!

Living in Portland, Maine and working in the downtown area (known as the Old Port), I’m used to hearing people on the streets occasionally yelling at nothing and no one - typically the sign of someone mentally ill, high on drugs, or both. But while it’s seldom here, it was basically par for the course in LA, and everyday I’d hear multiple people hollering in the streets like they were delivering some kind of public soliloquy. This guy was no exception. After all, LA is known for its homelessness and pervasive mental illness & drug use.

While I don’t remember almost anything he shouted - I was maybe more focused on getting a photo of him - his attire and sign on his bike tell me it was probably something positive & optimistic - something that maybe isn’t par for the course amongst this aforementioned demographic.

This guy stuck out to me for two reasons: one, his outlandish but interesting hair style, and his incenses that he was presumably trying to sell.

I tried to sneakily take some photos of him, especially because at one point his incenses were burning, emitting eye-catching tendrils of smoke.

How often do you see two people play chess on a city sidewalk? When I saw this happening, I knew I had to capture it. What made this moment even more unique was that the gentleman playing is sitting on a 5-gallon plastic bucket, and his opponent was sitting in a wheelchair of some sort. I'm also thankful that the bus in the background rode by with "LA" written across it.

Next stop: Beverly Hills & Los Angeles County Museum of Art!