Ansel Adams: Scenes of Long-Lost LA

Ansel Adams

When someone thinks of Ansel Adams, most think of his beautiful black and white trees of Yosemite National Park. However, Ansel Adams didn’t just photograph trees and mountains. He also created an entire series of photos depicting Los Angeles during World War II.

ansel adams LA

Fortune Magazine

Way back in 1939. Fortune Magazine commissioned Ansel Adams to document the LA aerospace industry. It was World War II and everyone wanted to see the air power possessed by the US.

While on assignment, Adams took over 200 photos, but many focused on the more mundane. Rather than aerospace, Adams showed factory workers eating lunch and street scenes. He photographed a bowling alley, oil rigs, trailer parks, orange groves, and even movie stars.

Most of his photos did not make the magazine. However, years later, Ansel Adams sent the photos to the LA Public Library. He felt the photos weren’t that great and blamed the weather. However, the LA Library was thrilled to get such a great insight into life in the late 30’s in LA.

Ansel Adams Los Angeles

More Than Aerospace

It is ironic that Adams was asked to take photos of the aerospace industry and came out with life in general. His photos showed such things as:

  • Men relaxing on a bench
  • Children outside a market
  • People enjoying Santa Monica’s Ocean Park pier
  • Residents of a trailer park used for temporary housing
  • An ice cream vendor
  • Waitresses at a lunch counter
  • Shoppers in Sears
  • And more

From these photos, we can see times when hot dogs cost ten cents, movie stars mingled with those hanging clothes in a trailer park. It was long before the Westside became anything more than a far away suburb of LA, and homes were not luxury.

ansel Adams

Times have definitely changed in LA, but the nostalgia captured by Adams can take anyone back to the days when the city first began to thrive. If you’d like to learn more about the Westside today, give me a call. I have years of experience buying and selling in the area and would love to help you create some memories here of your own.

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Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.

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