Without doubt, photographers are inspired by new places. When you travel somewhere you’ve never been, decisive moments seem to come at you from all directions. Sadly, being able to travel at the drop of a hat is simply not a reality for most people. Time, expense and life just get in the way.
So how do you maintain your relationship with Lady Muse when everything seems the same? How do you keep those fresh images flowing when it feels like you’ve seen it all before?
I believe that great shots are there for the taking anywhere, anytime. And while I’m always looking for new places to shoot in and around Los Angeles, there are some old favorites that I return to time and time again.
The Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is one of those special locations. No matter how often I tread its hip gritty streets, I come away with a treasure trove of images that reaffirm my belief in magic.
Here are some things you can do to help you change it up in those same old places.
Rotate Your Cast
I’ve shot so many cool images in front of this wall. Yes, it’s always the same wall, but what changes are the diverse characters I come across whenever I wonder around the Arts District. And more often than not, they’re willing to give me a moment of their time.
It’s the Art District dammit! And that means, by definition, that it’s in a constant state of flux. Yes, my fellow photo fiends, in a place like this, that art work you saw on a previous visit has been replaced by something compelling and new. A word of advice: be brave and ask that Heisenberg doppelganger who happens to be passing by to model for you. It can help turn an ordinary mural capture into something worthy of a double take.
Watch Out For the Crazies
There’s one in every crowd. Well actually, in DTLA the ratio is significantly higher. Hitch your wagon to the trajectory of the brave and not so few, and watch your retakes of those beautiful bridge shots you captured on your last visit move into a different zone.
Look in Unexpected Paces
Sometimes digging deeper means just that. No matter how often you go somewhere, the unexpected is just waiting to make it into your frame. Look up, look down, look in the shadows—you’ll be surprised how mundane everyday objects can be dramatically transformed with a small change of perspective and a little attitude.
Find Those Juxtapositions
This is the cardinal rule of street photography, and is the surest way to breathe new life into any old place. The interaction between a subject and its surroundings happens only once. All you have to do is notice it and press that button.
Create New Frames
So what have we discovered through our little stroll through the Los Angeles Arts District? That the key to finding the new in the old comes down to our willingness to mess with our point of view and use our surroundings as a frame in which to tell stories. No two moments are the same. There are new things happening in all places at all times. All we have to do to see them is take a jump to the left and shift perspective.
I’d love to hear about your go-to places and what you do to keep things fresh and new. Please share in the comments below.
Dubbed “LA’s iPhoneography Wizard” by Forbes Magazine, Alon Goldsmith is an award-winning photographer who has been featured extensively across media and exhibited in galleries around the globe. His recent achievements include Honorable Mentions in the Mobile Photography Awards, a category win in the Hipstography Awards, publication in the Los Angeles Times and Reader’s Digest, features in Snap Magazine, a one-man show in Brentwood and San Diego, and a group show at HaleARTS in Santa Monica. His work is currently on display as part of Click. Boom. Amazing!, an exhibition put on by Hipstography at the Sofitel Brussels.