John Humble: Los Angeles - A Place in the Sun...

10425 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1997

Los Angeles… L.A…. the City of Angels.

The words are charged… they carry a feeling and a complex weight… emotion and human stories seem to be carried within the letters… they come off of the page... a heavy vibe... just in the words. This massive thing is no ordinary place, this is no ordinary city and those that come here, those that are from here… those that live here and those that die here... no ordinary folks. Los Angeles is a living-breathing-epicenter and its waves are felt far and wide. It is vast... it is a dream, it is its people… it is its country… its culture and its effects reach out across the land. Alive... it thrives, it grows, it expands... it gives, it takes, it demands. It is birth, it is death... it lifts dreams up yet it crushes them with impunity… it breathes up the air and it consumes it voraciously. A place where dreams are born, where they fight to survive… where dreams try their best to come true. 13 million souls, 13 billion stories, every spoken language… every skin... every color... every rich-every poor… every good-every bad… every hero-every villain… every thought-every vice… everything that exists under the blazing sun. This is a city that needs to be shown… this is a city that needs to be seen, needs to define and needs to be understood… needs to be experienced, needs to be told… needs to be “felt”. Even if you never go there… you can “feel” Los Angeles and you can know it.

1553 8th Street, Los Angeles, November 15, 1985
423 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice, 2000

This is the Los Angeles that John Humble loves... this is the Los Angeles that John Humble photographs. From the roof view of his 1970's van (John built a platform on his van's roof to accommodate his large-format camera and provide a better view for recording the street and its context), from the freeway overpasses, from the water... his handiwork and craftsmanship... what he makes... serves as a window into this feeling of "L.A.". It is a certain and loving view into its character, into its beauty. Like Eggleston with his beloved South, this is a personal diary into the sprawl, a look at the skin of the city… a view into the vast ocean of concrete ugliness… no, a celebration of the ugliness... a beauty that is this concrete ugliness, an ugliness that is beauty. In the concrete and in the metal, in the waterways (In the late 1990s Humble began documenting the Los Angeles River, charting its 51-mile course from the headlands in Canoga Park to its mouth in Long Beach) and in the electric towers, in the foliage and in the steel bars... in the man made, in the man-nature and in the feeling that comes in viewing these things... in the lives that live amongst these things, amongst this concrete... this is a living monolith.

Lugo Park Avenue at Fernwood, Lynwood, April 20, 1993

Taken during a long period from the 1970’s through the 2000’s… these pictures of the river, of the man made matrix... of the wires, of the buildings... they are a glimpse into a city, a life, a legacy, a past-a future... into a physical place but more importantly into a feeling, and what is to be Los Angeles and what it means to be part of this place...


To love it.


Doug Rickard


A Place in the Sun.
Photographs of Los Angeles by John Humble.
Photographs by John Humble. Essay by Gordon Baldwin
The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2007. 88 pp., 45 color illustrations, 12x12".

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