Allan Gerson's Los Angeles Photos
In his exhibition “Emerging LA,” currently on view at the Daily Dose Cafe, 1820 Industrial Street in the Los Angeles Arts District, Washington-based photographer Allan Gerson has pointed his camera at Downtown LA and its Arts District creating some remarkable images. Together, these photos provide a series of visual statements about Gerson’s perceptions of this city describing them as a “foray into Los Angeles and its glory focused on its textures and juxtapositions.” His affinity for the grit of urban scenes has led him to photograph the Berlin Wall, and to photograph both in New York and Paris.
LA might be one of the capitals of urban graffiti; however, Gerson has not chosen to further document what has now become a civic cultural identity.
Rather, he has chosen to juxtapose a contemporary high end bike against a scruffy graffiti background. In terms of visual composition, at which he is a master, the color, shape and placement of the bicycle echo the position and shape of the bubble blower’s arm. The yellow fire hydrant, with perfect placement, is a happy accident. As a commentary, this image reminds us that there are two worlds occupying the same space.
Blossoms Against Barbed Wire
This is a striking visual composition in which a chain link fence and its barbed wire crown are embraced by spring blossoms silhouetted against a typical LA cloudless sky. The perfection of these images is a product of Gerson’s personal darkroom where he utilizes matte fine art paper that provides a lustrous surface.
Flowers Bloom Against Red Awning
A perfect composition, the wall with awnings, complemented by a happy accident, the blossoming tree.
With the Downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background, the red hoe, apparently demolishing an existing building, symbolizes the transformation of The Arts District.
Seldom is a photographer lucky enough to have the perfect environment in which to exhibit work. At the The Arts District’s Daily Dose Cafe there is an intimate gallery with exposed brick walls; this textured background offers a perfect contrast to the image perfection of Gerson’s photographs. That textured ambiance is introduced in the Daily Dose’s outdoor cafe where flowering vines cover a one hundred foot three-story brick expanse. In the preceeding industrial era, this space was a railway bed. On my first encounter, I said, “This reminds me of Paris.”
All images by and copyright Allan Gerson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Our critic Allon Schoener has been: Director, Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center; Consultant, The Library of Congress; Guest Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Director, Museum Aid Program, New York State Council on the Arts; Curator, San Francisco Museum of Art; Guest Curator and consultant, Smithsonian Institution; Assistant Director,The Jewish Museum, New York; Project Curator, United Nations Vienna Center.