Photographer Patrick Ecclesine’s exhibit “Faces of Sunset Blvd.” captures Los Angeles’ diversity through intimate portraits of people along the boulevard.
The 24 out of 100 photographs displayed at the Los Angeles City Hall Bridge Gallery covers Sunset Boulevard through nine neighborhoods, from downtown to the affluent Pacific Palisades.
Ecclesine’s portraits include a unique mix of L.A. residents, including a poet, a writer, a single mother and burlesque dancers. On the opposite side, other residents include a film producer, a plastic surgeon, and prominent people such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A.P.D. Chief William Bratton.
At first glance, the photographs seem to glamorize the subjects. The digital photographs have bright blue skies and palm trees in the backgrounds. The colors are brighter than usual and the posed shots have a Hollywood blockbuster feel to them.
Movie poster-like images of the police chief and the former chief of the L.A.F.D. are highlights of the exhibit and depicts the two as heroes in the spotlight.
Ecclesine includes quotes underneath the photographs that reveal a more intimate side of the Los Angeles residents. The quotes introduce the underlying struggles, concerns and dreams of people who may not be as superficial as they look.
In one photograph, a film producer and his family captures them sitting in a shiny convertible, stopped at a stop sign, crossing Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades.
On the surface, it is easy to be distracted by the expensive car and the beautiful smiles of the wife and two children. With a closer look, one can see the film producer realized how he shortchanged his family by putting work before them and must have missed out on many good memories. He now places family before work, and has found that the most important thing in life is family.
A photograph of an undocumented immigrant waiting for work exposes a different reality, one filled with worry, which is apparent on his face as he stares off into the distance.
A single mother is photographed with her two children. All three of them are smiling and it seems like they are enjoying the American Dream. Her quote, however, reveals how she lives in a motel and struggles to find work because of her two children.
Another photograph portrays a business owner stuck with a business that was passed down to her from her father. Christine Yee owns a fish supply store and has to work there every day.
The exhibit also includes a good sample of people in the media. In the photograph, weather forecaster Jackie Johnson is seen wearing nothing but a yellow rain jacket and red high heels, holding a red umbrella.
Another media personality featured in the show is Chuck Street, a radio and TV traffic reporter, photographed in his helicopter. The classic photograph provides a face to the voice that many people hear on their drive home.
The L.A. City Hall Bridge Gallery is a bridge connecting City Hall East to the main city hall building. In between each photograph are large, wide windows framing downtown L.A. and Main Street.