Photographic Journey Across America: Los Angeles, 2019

Photographic Journey Across America: Los Angeles, 2019

Shooting some fresh shots across Los Angeles.

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I flew back from LA last night after spending some time there. I shot primarily on film, so that article will be coming soon. However, I do have some digital shots to share with everyone here, thanks to my trusty D750.

I shot these shots with the Nikon 50mm 1/8G and the Sigma ART 24mm 1/4. Man, I love that Sigma. Let's begin.

Michael Neal

I'm going to start this article off with some street photography. I love shooting street work in black and white, and I like to highlight interesting architectural perspectives that I see as I travel. I liked the side lights here illuminating the symmetrical bike racks downtown.

Michael Neal

I love interesting perspectives, so I shot this with a wide angle lens standing directly beneath the building.

Michael Neal

I like the framing of this shot, and the glow added a nice edge light to the leaves of the plant.

Michael Neal

I hope you like Black and White. This picture was nice because it emulated a grainy BW film stock to me. The framing is tasteful and accents nice symmetry.

Michael Neal

This was from the rooftop of Ace Hotel, and I liked the illumination of the structure at night.

Michael Neal

The last one, I promise. I liked the negative space of this shot. It's nice on the brain.

Michael Neal

Let's reset the visual pallet. Again, the framing here is intentional and the color contrast between the green palm, red school, and blue sky is nice.

Michael Neal

This image is really disruptive. I shot it near Beverly Hills, and I liked the reflections of the palm trees into the glass windows of this complex.

Michael Neal

This was shot on Rodeo Drive, and I liked the lights offsetting the frame of the giant storefront structure.

Michael Neal

Again, shot on Rodeo, I liked the color scheme here and the framing.

Michael Neal

The classic concert hall, I liked the wide-angle approach to include some empty space on the right.

Michael Neal

On the rooftop of Ace, I shot the skyline. I always enjoy seeing the skyline. Shot at ISO 6400 some grain is unavoidable, and I also may or may not have had to shoot through a window.

Michael Neal

I liked this image for the subtle light thrown onto the wood texture around it. I also liked the depth of filed as reflected in the bottom right corner. Additionally, I like the angles of the stakes.

It's always real, LA. Stay premium.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Experimental Photography: Xpro Fuji Provia, 2019

I had some soon-to-expire Fuji Provia slide film, so I decided to shoot some frames around Ohio, and then have the film cross-processed in C-41 chemistry.

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These shots are all captured on Fuji Provia 100F 35mm film and cross processed in C-41 chemistry. This is my second time cross-processing this film, and I really love the results. Taken around Ohio, I present to you: some shots I took.

Michael Neal

I liked the repeating windows of this shot, and I thought the geometrics of the frame made for a pleasing picture.

Michael Neal

I love the texture that the film shows here. The little tuft of grass anchors the frame, and I liked the color cast as well.

Michael Neal

I like overexposing film in some instances, and I felt like blowing out the highlights here turned out really nicely. The edge lighting adds depth to the shot as well.

Michael Neal

Similar to the last shot, I liked blowing out the highlights in the background, and the candid pose of the shot.

Michael Neal

This shot is an odd one, but I liked it because there are twigs and trees everywhere, but the light hitting the center tree anchors the eye, and the shifted sky tones make the picture very visually appealing.

Michael Neal

This shot just seems to be framed so well, that I really like it. The color cast is also interesting, and I love how white the sky is (aside from the color bleed in the corner) I did not want to heavily touch up these shots, so I left that as is.

Michael Neal

I liked the symmetry and dissection of this shot, and the blue cast is lovely as well. Simple and clean.

Michael Neal

This has such a nice film texture. I can't even really describe what I mean by that, but maybe others familiar with film will agree. It almost feels like I can reach out and touch that tree.

Michael Neal

These last few shots are emphasized by framing, depth of field, and the cool color cast that the C-41 had on the film.

Michael Neal

Michael Neal

This series was cool to me because it allowed me to think outside the box while also being inside the box. Instead of finding abnormal subject matter, I selected specific films and chemistry which helped transform the ordinary into the less ordinary.

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