Adam Bartos Los Angeles 1978-79

I took these photographs after moving to Los Angeles from New York City late in 1978. I was lost, and I spent a lot of time driving around and getting to know the city. Not unusually, I had a romance going with LA from film, photography, and television, and the place felt, as it still does to me, unreal in a familiar way. My photographs were attempts to locate myself in the actual time and place, by looking at what was typical but might, or might not, reference the mythic LA in the most oblique manner possible. Coinciding with my residence there, which only lasted about six months, the Doobie Brothers song, What a Fool Believes, was climbing the charts and always on the radio. Although I wouldn’t have admitted it, since my musical taste ran to harder stuff, I liked the song (and couldn’t get it out of my head). According to Wikipedia; “The song lyrics tell a story of a man who is reunited with an old love interest of his and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her he never realized didn’t exist.” I think this is an apt metaphor for the photographs, in that they describe the dogged persistence of what merely appears to be ordinary.

All images © courtesy of Adam Bartos

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