Ed Ruscha Muses on “Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles”


Los Angeles is arguably one of the most photographed cities in the world. So one might wonder why we need another book filled with images of our city. Artist Ed Ruscha provides the answer for one particular new collection of LA images titled Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles (Metropolis Books, 2015), edited by Jane Brown and Marla Hamburg Kennedy.


As Ruscha sees it, “The city, as well as the artist’s perspective, is always changing.” That resonated with me, since it’s the way I experience Los Angeles every time I step outside and explore. He then goes on to state: “I’ll bet anyone turning these pages will fall deep into a Los Angeles they didn’t expect.” Ok – that hooked me.

But still I wondered: what makes this volume of photos unique? Ruscha explains it this way.

I was surprised by this selection because it gives me a full-bodied view of an elusive town. The pictures sit together as a refreshing collage of what this place is all about, even with all the stereotypes of the city in tow. It’s got multiple sides of the L.A. story represented and, happily, a few head-scratchers, which are the ones that I keep going back to. In these pages, new views stand next to well-worn ones and visually utter a different story than I’ve seen before. It’s a new read.

Based on this recommendation by an artist I’ve long admired, as well as time spent viewing a small selection of images shared by Metropolis Books, several of which you’ll find below, I can’t wait to purchase a copy of this book. I think it’s going to become one of those books that I go back to time and again.


Photo by Tim Street-Porter


Photo by William Mebane


Photo by Tim Street-Porter


What: Publication of Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles

Where: Available online or at your local bookstore.