“I entered the Yale School of Art straight from college and left after my first semester. I was 21. I was restless, curious about the America that lay beyond New England, and had a strong interest in the movie industry; I also had heard that Garry Winogrand was somewhere in Los Angeles so in the summer of 1983 I headed west.” - Mark Steinmetz, from the preface to Angel City West
Charles A. Hartman Fine Art is very excited to present Angel City West, an exhibition of quietly beautiful black and white images from one of photographer Mark Steinmetz's earliest bodies of work. In over twenty stunning silver prints, Steinmetz takes us back in time to an earlier era in Los Angeles, and an earlier era in photography. These images reward looking, not glancing. They are to be taken in slowly and contemplatively, just as they were made. Shot in 1983 and 1984, the artist only recently edited and compiled these images into a monograph of the same name published by Nazraeli Press. These are the first exhibition prints made of this exquisite body of work.
Angel City West offers a touching, highly personal look at Los Angeles through the eyes of Steinmetz as a young artist straight out of school. He describes living in a studio apartment in the Miracle Mile district, complete with a futon surrounded by a dozen roach motels and a makeshift darkroom set up in a tiny nook off of the bathroom. It didn’t take long before he ran into Garry Winogrand, for whom he became a kind of unofficial chauffeur, enabling Winogrand to photograph through the car window while Steinmetz navigated the streets of his new home town.
Viewed together, the two dozen photographs presented in Angel City West document Steinmetz finding his own voice as an artist. In light of the later projects for which he has become so well known, this early series of street photographs, informal portraits and landscapes foreshadows the sometimes humorous, oftentimes sad, and always poignant mood that runs through Mark Steinmetz’s work.