Los Angeles… L.A… City of Angels… La La Land… whatever you want to call it, it is Union’s home under (almost) year-round sunshine, the Hollywood sign and slender, wind-nudged, palm trees. These icons, however, do not and should not be what defines this great city. Too often, that is all people associate with Los Angeles, when in reality, there are many more layers to the 469 square miles (1,215 km2) of land it occupies.
Enter Michael Shields’ photographs. Shields’ series, “The Anatomy of L.A.” tells the current state of Los Angeles by capturing aerial images that allow the viewer to experience the city from a wider scope than the usual glimpse one catches as they drive through different pockets of the massive urban sprawl and/or what the entertainment industry depicts. To obtain these shots, Shields piggy-backed helicopters rides flown by the Los Angeles Police Department on emergency calls between the hours of 11am and 3pm. In knowing this element to this series of photographs, one can contextualize the photographs even further and grasp a whole other vantage point of L.A. What are the building blocks that really make up the city and its inhabitants? What is going on underneath that layer of fun under the sun that is seen globally through movies and televisions? Which side of the city are these photographs depicting?
You can answer these questions for yourself when Union releases Shields’ photographs in an upcoming book, also titled, “The Anatomy of L.A.”. Each book will come with one of Shields’ prints. And a tee and poster will also be available for purchase.
Check back for an official release date for this book!