Inspired: Black and White Photography

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwitt

Torcello in the Venetian Lagoon, Venice, Italy, 1953 ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Every day inspiration can be sparked by so many things: a Warholian piece of art; a quote by Paulo Coelho; the dramatic lines of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Today, I was inspired by monochromatic images. I love when a photograph evokes a feeling, and black+whites have a knack of doing that.

Recently I have been paying attention to other elements too; composition, depth of field, lines, expressions, and angles. Reading images in this way encourages me to notice details that I may have otherwise overlooked.

I like this new change. It’s a reminder to look at the world with new eyes. Enjoy the inspiration!

A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.  ~ Ansel Adams

Flooded Piazza San Marco with St Marks Church Venice, 1952 ~ Dimitri Kessel

Picasso Behind a Window, 1952 ~ Robert Doisneau

New York, 1955 ~ Elliott Erwitt

Antonio Gaudi's Churchy Of The Holy Family Barcelona, Spain, 1951 ~ N R Farbman

Check out how much the Sagrada Familia has progressed since then, click here (then scroll to bottom of that post)

People buying out of town newspapers in Times Square during newspaper strike, NY, 1953 ~ Ralph Morse

View of Ministry of Justice and Government Building from Senate Building, Brasília, Brazil, 1977 ~ Julius Shulman

Wedding in London, 1950's ~ Photographer Unknown

Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the photo as a judgment that the photograph is good. ~ Garry Winogrand

Russian Metro, Moscow, 1941 ~ Margaret Bourke-White

Rome Railroad Station,1951 ~ Jack Birns

Rome Railroad Station,1951 ~ Jack Birns

Moscow Street Scene ~ Carl Mydans

Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph. ~ Andre Kertesz

Kennedy at the L.A.1960 Democratic National Convention ~ Garry Winogrand

Delegates looking at Taj Mahal, 1961 ~ James Burke

Los Angeles Airport, 1978-83 ~ Garry Winogrand

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept. ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

"Swan Lake", Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Cyclades Island of Siphnos, Greece ~ 1961

Hyères, France, 1932 ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work. ~ William Klein

French couple at cafe Tango du Chat in the Latin Quarter, Paris, 1949 ~ Gjon Mili

Academy Awards, 1962 ~ Allan Grant

Newspaper boy selling newspapers amidst the traffic on Olive Street in downtown area nr. 6th Street, LA,1949 ~ Loomis Dean

Palm Springs ~ Julius Shulman

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.  ~ Eudora Welty

Hermes Store, Paris, 1952 ~ N R Farbman

New York ~ Vivian Maier

Flooded Piazza San Marco with St Marks Church, Venice, 1952 ~ Dimitri Kessel


Oscars Over The Decades

Oscar-worthy moments have been made since the inception of the Academy Awards in 1929, when the first show was held as a 270-person private brunch in The Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Whilst the venue may have changed many times since then – traveling from such hotels as the Biltmore and Ambassador; to the theatres: Grauman’s and RKO Pantages, and into larger-scale auditoriums and pavilions: Shrine Civic, Santa Monica Civic and Dorothy Chandler – this year’s 84th Academy Awards celebration will be held in the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland, where the show has unfurled over the past decade.

No matter where the Oscars have been held, many of us have experienced viewing an Oscar-worthy moment from one of its statue-adorned stages, piped live via satellite since 1953 (well, if you’re not on a tape delay). In an honorary tribute to the upcoming ceremony, I’ve curated some of the more memorable, as well as the lesser-seen moments, that have been documented throughout the decades. This is a continuation of my most recent post: Vintage Inspired California.

Apart from chronology, there is no order or theme to this series. They are just moments in time. The shows have hardly skipped a beat since the late 1920s, and I hope you enjoy these photos as a prelude to tomorrow’s grandeur.

Bette Davis with husband Harmon O. Nelson during the Academy Awards, LA, 1937 ~ Photograph by Rex Hardy Jr

Oscars, lined up ~ Photograph Adam Silk

Vivien Leigh placing the Oscar she won for her role as Scarlett in "Gone With The Wind" on her mantlepiece at home, Beverly Hills, 1940 ~ Photograph Peter Stackpole

Academy Awards in 1949

Olivia de Havilland and Jimmy Stewart backstage at the Oscars, LA, 1950 - via joan-webster

Academy Awards, 1950 ~ Photograph Edward Clark

Best Sound Recording winner Thomas T. Moulton for "All about Eve" with Marilyn Monroe., LA, 1951 ~ Photograph AMPAS

Movie producer Walt Disney holding four Oscar awards he won for best feature-length documentary, short documentary, cartoon & two-reeler at Academy Awards ceremony, LA, 1954 ~ Photograph George Silk

Producer Buddy Adler's Academy Award for "From Here to Eternity" stands amid hats in the coat check room at Romanoff's restaurant in Beverly Hills during an Oscars after-party, LA, 1954 ~ Photograph Ed Clark

Humphrey Bogart with wife Lauren Bacall arriving at the 27th annual Academy Awards ceremony at the RKO Pantages Theatre, LA, 1955 ~ Photograph George Silk

Actors Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, rehearsing with choreographer Jack Cole for Academy Awards show, LA, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard McCombe

Joanne Woodward dances with husband actor Paul Newman at the 1st Governor's Ball held at the Bali Room of the Beverly Hilton Hotel following the Academy Awards where she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in "Three Faces of Eve", LA, 1958 ~ Photograph J. R. Eyerman

Director Billy Wilder in his Hollywood office wearing German helmet; Oscars in the background, Hollywood, 1960 ~ Photograph Gjon Mili

Elizabeth Taylor announced a winner, LA, 1961 ~ Photograph Ralph Crane

”It’s a tie!” exclaims Best Actress presenter Ingrid Bergman: The Lion in Winter’s Katharine Hepburn and Funny Girl’s Barbra Streisand both claim the top prize, marking the first time in Oscar history two women would share the honor. Hepburn is a no-show, and a visibly overwhelmed Babs steals the spotlight by cooing ”Hello, gorgeous!” to her first golden guy.

Basking in the win, LA, 1969 ~ Photograph Bud Gray/

Biography files of Academy Award nominees, LA, 1972 ~ Photograph Bill Eppridge

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep win for "Kramer vs Kramer", LA, 1980 ~ Photograph UPI Photo/Bob Flora/Files

Christopher Reeve at Academy Awards, 1983 ~ Photograph Unknown

Films and life are like clay, waiting for us to mold it. And when you trust your own insides and that becomes achievement, it’s a kind of principle that seems to me is at work with everyone. God bless that principle. God bless that potential that we all have for making anything possible if we think we deserve it. Shirley Maclaine,1983 Oscars.

Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson win for "Terms of Endearment", LA, 1984 ~ Photograph Rex Features

Lionel Richie kisses his Oscar after winning the award for "Say You, Say Me" from White Nights, LA, 1986 ~ Photograph UPI Photo/David Vondrak/Files

Jim Henson and his muppets, LA, 1986 ~ Photograph Unknown

Dianne Wiest holding her Oscar in Press Room at Academy Awards, LA, 1987 ~ Photograph Unknown

Paul Hogan at Academy Awards, LA, 1987 ~ Photograph David McGough

Dustin Hoffman (holding his Oscar) and Tom Cruise in Press Room at Academy Awards, 1989 ~ Photograph Unknown

Oscars, LA, 1991

Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin in Press Room at the Academy Awards, LA, 1991 ~ Photograph Unknown

Director/producer Steven Spielberg with fellow producers of their film "Schindler's List" holding their Oscars in Press Room at the Academy Awards, LA, 1994 ~ Photograph Unknown

Nicole Kidman at the Academy Awards, LA, 1994 ~ Photograph Kevin Winter

Diane Keaton & Steve Martin at Academy Awards, LA, 1995 ~ Photograph Unknown

Nicolas Cage (holding his Oscar), Mira Sorvino (also won Oscar) and Kevin Spacey (holding his Oscar) in Press Room at Academy Awards, LA, 1996 ~ Photograph Mirek Towski

Angelina Jolie holding her Oscar in Press Room at Academy Awards, LA, 2000 ~ Photograph Mirek Towski

Martin Scorsese wins Best Director for "The Departed", LA, 2006 ~ via tumblr

Kate Winslet, Sean Penn, and Penelope Cruz hold their Oscars backstage. Winslet won best actress, Penn won best actor, and Cruz won best supporting actress, LA, 2009 ~ Photograph UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen

Hugh Jackman, backstage, LA, 2009 ~ Photograph AP

Angelina and Brad, monitored in LA, 2009 ~ Photograph AP

David Rockwell, set designer of the 2010 Academy Awards

Do you know that people are now moving to New Zealand just to be thanked? Billy Crystal, 76th Academy Awards

Oscar Hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, LA, 2010 ~ Photograph Reuters/Gary Hershorn

Workers put the finishing touches on a sign on the red carpet outside of the Kodak Theatre as preparations are made for the 83rd annual Academy Awards, LA, 2011 ~ Photograph UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Backstage at the Oscars; Hilary Swank watches on, LA, 2011 ~ Photograph Al Seib

The stage of the Kodak Theater will be returned to its original glory as stage crew breaks down the set for the Cirque du Soleil resident show “Iris” at the Kodak Theater at Hollywood and Highland in the first weeks of February to make way for the 84th Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2012. The heaviest and biggest stage props are first to be removed, but the entire Kodak Theater stage and offices have to be vacated to accommodate the Oscars.

Cirque du Soleil's Iris clears Kodak Theatre for Oscars, LA, 2012 ~ Photograph Al Seib

Vintage Inspired California

Sweet life. A never ending stretch of palm fringed coastline. Rolling waves. Salty fresh air and long sunny days. Bougainvillea wrapped terraces. Glorious Pacific Ocean sunsets, from Aliso Viejo to Zuma. A gold-lit horizon. Cocktails served against infinite water views. This is Southern California.

Stretches of grassy spaces. Laguna’s steep cliff faces. Mountains overlooking a beautiful Malibu beach. Santa Monica and its famous Pier. The twinkling lights of a widespread LA. Winding hikes through Runyon Canyon. Ah, those uphill climbs! Don’t despair – they’re worth the million dollar views, once you get to the top.

From Hollywood Hills to Beverly Hills. Immaculate gardens and imaginative homes. Clean architectural lines and ranch designs. All things retro-inspired. Traditional colonial Spanish styles: elegant archways and terracotta tiles. Deck chairs, cabanas; lunch served poolside. A climate that inspires outdoor living. Such a sweet life.

The eternal glitter of The Golden Age. Silver screen and Technicolour. Hollywood stars – always remembered, never forgotten. The glamour and the rock’n’roll.  The music; the movies; and, the awards. A place of Oscars-worthy moments. The buzz of the paparazzi. The bustle of the press – the who’s who, and the best dressed. The show goes on.

Inspired, this is Southern California in monochrome style, with a splash of colour. Enjoy!

Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Los Angeles, CA, 1979 ~ Copyright Henry Diltz

Capitol Records in LA, 1959 ~ Unknown

Night: New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

Los Angeles Development Boom, 1953 ~ Photograph by J.R. Eyerman

Actress Martha Hyer talking on the phone in the living room of her luxurious home, Beverly Hills, 1959 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

The two photographs below show a “A landmark image in the history of modern architecture: Julius Shulman’s nighttime shot of Ann Lightbody and Cynthia Murfee in Case Study House No. 22, the Stahl residence in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Architect: Pierre Koenig. The photo, taken with a Swiss-made Sinar 4×5 view camera, is a double exposure: Seven minutes for the background, then a flash shot for the interior, the house lights having been replaced with flashbulbs.”

Julius Shulman photographing the Stahl residence

Night time shot of the house, 1960 ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Rosen House In Los Angeles ~ Photograph Michael Rougier

Segel House on Carbon Beach, Malibu ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Marilyn in Malibu, 1962 ~ Photograph by George Barris

Malibu, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisestaedt

Malibu, 1961 ~ Photograph Allan Grant

Seaside Home, CA, 1945 ~ Photograph Nina Leen

President Richard M. Nixon's Residence In San Clemente ~Photograph Arthur Schatz

Actress Singer Doris Day driving Universal Production Dept. golf cart as she waves at a saluting security guard at Universal's movie lot , 1963 ~ Photograph John Dominis

Street set used in production of movie westerns on Paramount Studios ranch, Hollywood, 1937 ~ Photograph Margaret Bourke-White

Gregory Peck at Universal City construction site, 1963 ~ LIFE magazine

Actors (L-R) Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Sophia Loren, Doris Day (back to camera), Cary Grant, Ronald Reagan and Dorothy Malone listening to director Parker during rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards

Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, David Niven during a break from rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards show at the RKO Pantages theater, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Natalie Wood & Warren Beatty at Academy Awards, LA, 1963 ~ Photograph by Allan Grant

Audrey Hepburn wins Oscar for Best Actress in Roman Holiday, 1953 ~ Unknown

Photographers with Grace Kelly and Marlon Brando, Oscars winners for Best Actress & Actor at the 27th annual Academy Awards ceremony, RKO Pantages theater, 1955 ~ Photograph by George Silk

The 1958 Governors Ball; Elizabeth Taylor with her first Academy Award for Butterfield 8 in 1961 ~ LIFE magazine

Actor Paul Newman as a guest on Hollywood Diary Program, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Alfred Hitchcock with the MGM lion, 1958

Looking east towards Hollywood and Vine, LA, 1945

Hollywood Blvd, 1953

I love Los Angeles. It reinvents itself every two days. ~ Billy Connolly

New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

'Beatles' arrive at airport on 2nd US tour, LA, 1964 ~ Photograph by Bill Ray

John Lautner’s Chemosphere house, 1961 © Julius Shulman J. Paul Getty Trust

Interior of Segel House (shown previously) ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Actress Bette Davis skimming through the morning papers, Beverly Hills, 1939 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood Guides, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Joan Crawford at home in LA, 1949 ~ Unknown

Palms, 1932 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Humphrey Bogart in his Hollywood Home ~ Architectural Digest

Hollywood Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood -Night Beverly Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Schwabs on Sunset Blvd, 1960

Drive-In Movie, LA, 1949 ~ Photograph J.R. Eyerman

Silvertop Hollywood Dawn, 1972 ~ Available at Michel H.Lord Gallery