Celebrated lensman Tim Street-Porter takes readers on a tour of his favorite buildings in his beloved home city
Words by KELSEY McKINNON
“Someone asked me once why I still liked living in L.A. [after all these years]. I replied that L.A. is constantly evolving and redefining itself, giving me all the change I need,” says Tim Street-Porter. The internationally celebrated photographer, who hopped the pond from his native London in the late ’70s, was lured by the creative community here, “and then of course, as with David Hockney’s similar romance with L.A., there was the climate, the desert light, the architecture and the palm trees. … All very tempting after English gloom and Margaret Thatcher!”
Nakahouse, designed by XTEN Architecture. Photo by Tim Street-Porter, excerpted from LOS ANGELES TODAY.
“Los Angeles is a city worth saving”
Street-Porter has since spent the majority of his decades-long career documenting iconic architecture and design (his books include Doris Duke’s Shangri La, Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Live, Love & Decorate, Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge and the Rooms to Inspire series). Now, 15 years since his last tome on Los Angeles (L.A. Modern), Street-Porter decided the city was ready for its close-up once again. Over the course of a year, he traversed L.A’s sprawling 450-plus square miles with his Canon 5D Mark III, capturing over 250 landmarks for the newly released Los Angeles Today (Rizzoli New York, $70). (His last shoot was the Formosa Cafe, a week before they shut down because of the pandemic.) For Street-Porter, embarking on this “glorified Easter egg hunt” required persistence: “Like driving in traffic to an obscure corner of the city and finding the wrong light, or a truck parked in the way … so I’d have to go all the way back again.”
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House. Photo by Tim Street-Porter, excerpted from LOS ANGELES TODAY.
Chapters are neatly categorized by neighborhood. Street-Porter names the restored Griffith Observatory as a favorite shoot, along with Whitley Heights, the Hollywood neighborhood where he lives with his wife and collaborator, Annie Kelly, who edited the new title.
While taking stock of the city’s immense architectural repository, Street-Porter explains that much of that precious heritage is at risk from redevelopment. He praises enlightened architectural review boards and the Los Angeles Conservancy, because for him, “It’s a city worth saving.”
The John Lautner Silvertop residence. Photo by Tim Street-Porter, excerpted from LOS ANGELES TODAY.
Feature Image: The Gamble House, Pasadena. Photo by Tim Street-Porter, excerpted from LOS ANGELES TODAY.
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of C Magazine.
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