Ansel Adams’ Street Photography of 1940s Los Angeles

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Ansel Adams was famous for his signature series of landscapes, spindling trees, ominous clouds and cliffs, but he also had bills to pay. He had clients. He had assignments. In the ’40s, Fortune Magazine sent him to document Los Angeles’ aviation industry. He shot workers at a steel plant, but also dawdled around LA a bit, snapping oil rigs and boulevards and friends at bowling tournaments, friends at bars, friends staring off at the Santa Monica coastline. He ultimately decided that “none of the pictures were very good,” and donated the photos to the Los Angeles Public Library. Are they? Ansel Adams Los Angeles exhibit goes on view at LA’s drkrm Gallery on February 18th, but you can take a look at the loot right here, in our gallery, and judge for yourself. From dusty Burbank to bustling Downtown LA… let’s go!

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Looking south on Hill Street. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Enjoying drinks at a bar. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Pup café in Venice. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Court Flight cable railway. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Burbank Lockheed employees taking lunch. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Lunch stand. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Coastline in Santa Monica. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Typical residential street in Los Angeles. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Sixth Street and Broadway, Los Angeles. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Lockheed newsstand. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Oil derricks of Los Angeles. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library

Photo credit: Ansel Adams. Bowling tournament at Burbank Bowl. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library