Untold LA

Photographing the Astonishing Homes of LA's West Adams District

In 2012 photographer Jett Loe encountered the forgotten Los Angeles District of West Adams, the original wealthy area of town, the “Beverly Hills before Beverly Hills.”  Filled with an astonishing collection of Victorian and Craftsman homes in vibrant, diverse neighborhoods West Adams proved to be a revelation.  Following a successful Kickstarter campaign Jett spent two years producing this mammoth delight of a book that documents the variety of homes and people in the area.

Totaling a fully interactive 365 pages with 500 photos, 70 oral history audio clips from West Adams residents and two hours of behind-the-scenes video commentary, Untold LA is a massive treasure trove for lovers of Los Angeles, American history and architecture.

Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument Signage

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting pages from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

Continuing on with the Introduction to the Book we find ourselves on Page 15. I wanted to give readers a flavor of the kinds of Historic Cultural Monument signage we find in West Adams as well as introduce them to the idea of a 'gallery' in which they can access more than one image at a time per page.

On Page 15 we see two examples of signage, one on the Alfred J. Salisbury House on Hoover Street in North University Park, the other the Holmes-Shannon House in Victoria Park.

In the 'screen-grab' below you can see how the images look in the iPad Book.

I've always been ambivalent about signage of this kind. Living as I did in central London for so many years and seeing so many Blue Plaques the fear was that one could find oneself in a city no longer living, growing and vibrant but a place that has become an amusement park version of itself. Hyperbole of course but I think of Venice, has anything changed there, hemmed in as it is by it's unyielding geography and history - is any new history being made there, (other than as a signifier of the global environmental challenge?).

On the other hand, of course we should celebrate positive culture, culture that celebrates the triumph of beauty, of joy and genuine achievement. During my four years in Belfast cultural markers started to be installed on the pavement illustrating the various histories of wherever you happened to be standing and one got the sense that, "well, the war must be over if they're doing this kind of thing. It's a theme park now."