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.

Filtering by Tag: Van Buren Place Chapter

Ending the Van Buren Place Chapter

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

I try to end every chapter on a quiet or reflective note without body copy - The Van Buren Place Chapter comes to an end on Pages 51 and 52; the late afternoon sun shines on a Craftsman at the entrance to Van Buren Place as children run across the street to play.


American Four Square

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

From Page 50: Van Buren Place founder Percy H. Clark lived in this 3,000 square-foot American Four Square built in 1903. The current owners bought the house around 1987, you can see it around that time in the photo below.

Apparently the previous owners, in an attempt to help sell the house, painted the home a shade of turquoise. Alarmed at the negative reaction the bright color was getting from prospective buyers the owners mixed in gray to the paint resulting in what the current occupant calls a "gone-wrong Cape Cod."



Duritos Vendor

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

Mobile street vendors are a common site in West Adams. On page 49 of the Book we've got this image - was shooting a home across the street, saw this vendor cycling by and quickly snapped, (I happened to be standing on a ladder at the time, hence the high vantage point and car antenna in the frame).

He's selling the popular wheat flour snack known as duritos or chicharrones which you mix in a bag with hot sauce and lemon juice; recommended if you find yourself walking in the District and want a little snack.

Tree Sheltering Bouncy Castle in Van Buren Place

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

On pages 43-47 of the Van Buren Place Chapter we had Irene and Bob Grant talk about what it's like being the oldest couple on the block. Thought it would be nice to follow that on Page 48 with this shot a of a Camphor tree sheltering a bouncy castle at a child's birthday party.

I became progressively more fascinated with the flora of Southern California over the two years spent shooting Untold; this informs the experience of reading the book as one can't help but notice that the plant life, the trees, bushes and flowers of Los Angeles have intertwined themselves with the historic homes of West Adams, usually to beautiful effect.

 

Irene and Bob Grant

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

At the heart of the Van Buren Place Chapter is the oral history audio section with 40 year West Adams home owners Irene and Bob Grant.

They very graciously let me into their home to talk about their lives and neighborhood history. You can hear the audio clips used in the Book below.

Irene and Bob's home in Van Buren Place

A bit of Hollywood, stained glass windows installed by the producers of Kiss the Girls

Sidewalk outside of Irene and Bob's.