The Los Angeles locales photographer Kevin McCollister takes you to the places you can’t buy a ticket to. His blog and book project that grew out of it, East of West L.A., tells a different L.A. story — one that is subtler, nuanced and found only through patience. McCollister takes in the city by foot, armed with two cameras. Sometimes observing more than actually documenting. The city that emerges within these frames isn’t the one of iconic palm streets, expensive cars, expansive civic-center vistas — but one that lives in the shadows of our imagination. Workaday strivers, lost-people, forgotten emotional territories. The work tells us stories about the space between the L.A. dream and reality.
While McCollister is certainly “documenting” Los Angeles — his images evoke something more chambered — internal, contemplative, elegantly transitory. They play like memory and fantasy fused and evoke a Los Angeles that feels personal: one that’s private, but not exclusive. The images open a window on an unexpected L.A., contradictory, complex, and elusive as the city is itself.