“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Los Angeles has always moved and shimmered like an optical illusion for me, with the truth of it splitting endlessly, occupying remote extremes of a possible spectrum of reality. Dreams and ideals are exported continuously by the movie machine, exquisite stories spun on sets with flat facades. The temperature hovers, faithfully, around 72 degrees year-round. And the smog, a grayish bad mood at mid-day gives away to a magical, other-worldly orange-pink at dusk. And as dusk gives away to night, the city never ceases to sparkle from the perch at Griffith Observatory, a curious place to look at the skyward heavens, in this city where tourists flock to see the terrestrial stars.
A couple of months ago, I drove up to the Griffith Observatory before dawn, watching the sleepless city transition into the day. Gazing at the grid of largely Spanish-named streets below, I was thinking about the Latino crevices between the shifting and transient illusion of modern-day Los Angeles. Beautiful pockets of solid, enduring Latino culture. With long-reaching historical influence over Los Angeles, Mexico sits a mere 140 miles to the south. In fact, America’s 2nd most populated city was a part of Mexico as recently as 170 years ago. With half of Los Angeles having Latino heritage, the Mexican culture endures as the most fully infused and vibrant aspect of Los Angeles.
I had the honor of photographically celebrating the Latino heritage in Los Angeles for National Geographic Traveller (UK edition) out this month. Here are a few of my favorite outtakes and the layout: