LA Lockdown

The following photos have been taken since the first days of Lockdown in Los Angeles. Even today, I feel that the look of black and white has its own appeal as I'm not trying to do actual photo journalism. A photograph always shows the past and will only get older although its content stays the same. So even these most recent photos taken under completely new living circumstances, become a window into the past with an aura of timelessness, although they show the now.

Chairs up! The night before we had dinner at our favourite diner. The next morning everything was closed.

See you soon, the Areo sounded optimistic. Nobody had anwers.

Abbot Kinney, usually full of people eating out and shopping, was deserted - literally over night.

A man paddeling in the Venice canals, all by himself.

At this point I must say that I have never taken many street photos in my residential Santa Monica neighborhood. I hardly came across much street life so I gave it up for a while. Since the Lockdown, it has changed a little bit and I started bringing my cameras again.

Before COVID, a 20 minute walk north, in this area of the wealthy, I was used to only see a few gardeners. This shot was taken in the first days of the Lockdown. Since then, I've noticed an incline of people walking outside in a place that is usually empty during the week. These trollies for kids have been popping up as well.

Despite the still small incline in street life, you still could walk many blocks without seeing anyone. Every coin has two sides though: Traffic has gone down to a minimum, a blessing in Los Angeles.

North of Montana distance is relative.

While on Wilshire, social distancing workouts became a thing.

Hugs absurdly became a thing of the past.

Weeks of staying home, while seeing only the grocery store and the walks in between became our lives. One day we decided to look for alternatives to spend time outside. We found a tiny park that wasn't closed. Social distancing in practice.

Just a matter of time and the masquerade started in California too.

Gloves & Masks, the things in common.

One of the trais that was still open, Vanessa was climbing a platform somewhere in the Los Angeles Hills.

During the absence of people, I look for other subjects.

Back in the neighborhood bikes gained new popularity. The girls took out their new bicycles for a first ride, while a high-risk couple is watching from safe distance.

Possibly a COVID-Perk: Having more time to spend with your kids.

..or learning to ride the bike.

..or walking the dog.

Boogie has been on more walks than ever all without a leash. If he could, he would lock us down for ever.

and Vanessa has turned into a rose bandid.

Staying connected.

Suspiciousness is in the air..

The Skunk Car. Corona business model on the rise?

Backalley gym. No membership needed.

It has been a time to reflect.

While some people have don't even have a home to quarantine.

Matter out of place.

Some take the Lockdown quite literal. Aside the pun, I was wondering if dogwalkers see a decline in requests, now that people can walk their dogs again.

A new addition to the collection of prohibition signs.

One day, I heard some disco tunes coming out of Bagel Nosh (a local Bagel cafe since 1978). I looked inside and saw a man (probably the owner) DJing by himself in the empty restaurant. Definitely a quarantine moment there.

In times of COVID moments like these happen probably everywhere and so we get used to see them. My approach on street photography is to document what seems mundane at first, to look at and interprete the human condition in retrospective. That's why I started taking more photos again, to see how this time will be remembered.

At Priscio, our favorite italian cafe, they still serve coffee and food to go or deliver. A couple is having a coffee on an improvised table. Max, the owner is always keeping the vibes up.

The world explained through emojis.

Curbside waiting.

We were waiting in line, 6 feet apart, at the Farmers Market. Richard offered masks, cut from his t-shirt when conversation about film cameras and other relicts of the past followed. It reminded that every time period had their nerds.

The Farmers Market transformed into a completely different experience, with chalk lines on the asphalt, signs and staff equipped with megaphones and 6-feet sitcks guiding you to the the correct lines of each vendor. It almost feels like a scavanger hunt to get to your loaf of bread.

Curbside calls become more common I guess.

With school closed, he had the field for himself.

Several weeks in, life is still feeling akward.

On the weekends, families are literally taking over the streets.

More DIY gyms are popping up, even in sleepy Santa Monica.

Vanessa taking my photo on one of our walks.

Probably not 6 feet, but you get the idea..

Jobs for the desperate.

It is Written: Power of God.

A calm moment at home.

One day, I made the decision to go into the city. I was curious what Downtown looked like and taking photos on our walks had become a little repetetive. I wanted to see a different side of LA during Lockdown.

From Uncle John to KFC, they're all trying to stay alive..

Thinking that most of people learned how to cook during quarantine is probably wishful thinking.

The Lockdown caused a lot of empty space, which I photographed as well but my main focus was still on people that were left in the city. As it was so deserted, it almost was like taking photos of whoever came my way. It felt different than any other walk I ever photographed.

He was riding his bike with a bunch of handlebars in the basket.

A quick fix.

He was delivering food on a rental scooter. These times ask for improvisation.

A rare moment under these circumstances.

Masks are the new phone coves.

White squares.

Does the mask sit correctly?

Walking Downtown, especially now when most people stay home it is inevitable to see homeless people. As a photographer documenting street life, it has always been a part of what I'm capturing. I never focused on it in particular but I also try not to ignore it either.

When I saw this man, laying on a bench unintentionally making a face similar to the "Dad" on the advertising next to him, I saw a juxtaposition that made me take the photo. We clearly can't laugh about it, as we see someone's tragic existence. As a photographer I think, isn't that contrast what makes the photo stronger, than just a photo of a homeless person? Is it strange to think because of that juxtaposition it is worth photographing?

Will not taking their photos, lead to not looking and ultimately to not acknowledging their existence?

Weird but this was the most busy moment I've seen that day on my walk. Downtown became a ghostown.

All jewerly of the store windows had been removed. A man was looking at a ring that seems to have been forgotten.

Without the business of daily life and the parks closed, Downtown showed itself from a very raw side these days.

What seemed even more otherworldy was the Fashion District. Usually packed with people, it is a very specific place already but this time it felt like a ghostown somewhere in Mexico.

Closed but not quite closed. Some vendors still offered fabric. Mostly for masks that are being sold on the street all over the city.

At the end of the Fashion District, a guy walks his dogs through an apocalyptic scenery, that is reality for many people living in Los Angeles.

Sanitizing cans.

The button nobody wants to press anymore.

On my way back home, still in Downtown, I passed this line of people going all the way into the garage of Whole Foods.

The last shot on my roll. I left Downtown with a feeling of wanting to go back soon. Not because it felt safe and welcoming but from my perspective as a photographer, it has a strange fascination in these unusual times.


01.05.2020 | Agnes Krenn

Tolle Bilder. Sehr beeindruckend . Ist eine kuriose Situation. So überall

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