The following article by Mike Boehm appeared in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times on August 5, 2011. All copyrights are reserved by the appropriate party or parties.
If you set up a website and put out an open call for photographs of Los Angeles -– with a $30 entry fee to ensure that only serious shooters would respond — what would you get?
If you impaneled five experts to judge the pictures, what would they find to admire?
If you put their picks in a gallery show and posted them online, would eyeballs gather and be enthralled?
And might the show have enough legs to travel the world and send out a vision -– actually 42 visions -– of what constitutes L.A.?
The answers to the first two questions are in, and “I Love L.A.,” featuring the judges’ picks of 50 photographs by the 42 shooters, will open Aug. 11 with a free preview reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Pacific Ballroom at the downtown Wilshire Grand Hotel. Then it will run Aug. 13 to Sept. 17 at Duncan Miller Gallery, 10959 Venice Blvd.
“I Love L.A.” is already up on its Facebook page, where viewers can vote for their own favorites -– public opinion via Facebook and in person at the gallery will determine how about $20,000 worth of prize photo equipment is allocated.
“The only thing I wanted was a great gallery exhibition,” said gallery owner Daniel Miller, who set up a website in May to solicit entries. “I want someone in Tokyo to be able to walk into a room, with no other information but these photos, and smile and get it and go, ‘Oh, L.A!'”
Miller said he’s working on the Tokyo part -– actually Seoul is the hoped-for first stop on the hoped-for tour, and a Paris art festival is another possibility. He said he’s been working with L.A.’s sister city program and the cultural tourism chief at L.A. Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, on trying to place the exhibition overseas.
“I have very ambitious plans for this to travel, but it needs to prove itself first,” Miller said. “This is a really interesting ambassador for the city of Los Angeles, but it’s an art project, not a promo piece.”
“It’s not sanitized by any means -– we have some pieces that are atmospheric and moody — but for some reason we don’t have anything that’s completely freaking-weird edgy. L.A. certainly has that, but for some reason, those pieces weren’t submitted.”