Friday, March 27, 2009
You Are Here
The accidental travel photography of L.A.’s most notable tourist
Schall’s time in L.A. is always limited, so he makes the most of his chance to photograph it. Even so, he’ll return again and again to the same spot, day after day or trip after trip, to ensure he has a shot exactly as he wants it.
“Because I can’t wait for the perfect light all day,” Schall says, “sometimes I come back two or three times to get a photo. I walk around until everything looks good to me. Last year, I just drove up and down the boulevards in the Valley and stopped wherever I found something interesting. But I stopped every mile.”
The simplicity of Schall’s technical approach lends itself to his modern subjects. His work is less about camera technique than deliberation and inspiration. Eighty percent of his shots end up on the website, and the fact that he loves what he’s photographing shows in the end results.
“I’m so used to what I do,” he says, “I don’t spend time thinking about it. I don’t press the button if I don’t think I’ll get a decent picture. I shoot pictures as if on a shooting range—hold my breath and press the button, a good way to prevent shaking. I sometimes use a tripod after sunset, but I usually use objects like parking meters, by night. I walk around until I find my perfect spot. If I compare old photos with the new photos of the same building, I sometimes wonder, ‘But they’re exactly the same.’ I wait for up to 20 minutes to avoid cars—I don’t like to have cars included, my weak point—or I come back on Sundays, which are always great for less traffic, especially downtown. If nothing works, I’ll be back next year.”
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