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Shooting Los Angeles

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Peruse the work of photographer John Humble and it's obvious the man knows this city. While some of LA's famous perspectives (the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Boardwalk) have become international icons, Humble's work largely focuses on equally distinct, but far from iconic, images of the city and its people. The globetrotting photographer has worked for Time, Newsweek, Harper's, Esquire and others. His upcoming exhibit (and companion book), A Place in the Sun, opens at the Getty Center on Tuesday and runs through July 8. Visitors will be able to check out about 40 of Humble’s most interesting cityscape photos, divided between his LA landscapes and a series he shot on the LA River. Humble talked to LAist (via email) about finding beauty in even the ugliest parts of his adopted home.

Are you originally from LA?
I grew up all over the world, my father was career military. When I began teaching, there were a lot of opportunities to do that part-time and still have the time to make photographs here in L.A. My first wife moved here to take a job and I came along. We were only going to stay a year or two; that was 1974. And, I hated winter and never wanted to see another.

What was your first impression of the city?
My first impression of the city was that the air was unbreathable, there seemed to be chaos everywhere, and no culture at all. The air is now cleaner, I've learned to wend my way through the chaos, and I've also uncovered the culture, which I think is a very unique one. And you can bet I love L.A. I love the sunshine, the opportunity of experience cultures from all over the world, and I have the opportunity to eat authentic cuisine from just about anywhere by just taking a short drive. Real Korean, anyone?

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Photo by John Humble