Made in California
There is an image that comes to mind for most when we talk about California. Scenes of golden sunshine washing pastel-hued homes and colorful Cadillacs, loud neon nights blinking on at sunset for restaurants, theaters, motels, and an overall sense that things were simple then. It is a place where nostalgia runs king, forever immortalized in both the cinema from years past but also in its architecture that attests to distinctive periods.
I wanted to capture this memory of California in a visual essay, from the regal 1920s era San Franciscan fire escapes to the playful 1950s theaters dotting the coastline. Because of the place's strong cinematic history, it doesn't take much to recall how it may have felt living in these time periods in the golden state. One can imagine riding a bike down to the boardwalk from the Rio theater in Santa Cruz, listening to the Beach Boys. Or the Summer of Love in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco against a backwash of painted ladies, the noble Victorian homes delicately painted and meticulously cared for as their name would suggest. And we can even imagine parlour music and John Wayne-era cowboys gallivanting around the once-bustling, now-ghost town of Bodie, in search of gold.
It's unique that a place has reigned in public acquaintance for so long across so many distinctive cultural shifts and generations; first as a promised land for the adventurous seeking a new live during the Gold Rush, followed by the mansions and manors that the nouveaux riche of the West began to build in San Francisco. Then it became a portrait of idealised post-war America, all squeaky clean families going about their busy days during the baby boom, happy to forget the decade before. And finally dovetailing into a brilliant display of counter culture in the 1960s, which questioned institutions and tore down norms for free love and demands for equality.
And of course, Hollywood was ever-present; standing testament to these cultural changes as a heartbeat indicates a living body. While this series certainly does not capture all of what California stands for, I hope it brings to mind memories for you - whether your own or borrowed from pop culture.