Los Angeles is a new city. Compared to any big city on the East coast or cities more North of us, we are very young. We have the historic buildings that make an established city but they are few, far between, and fairly young. This fact–our youth–has led to Los Angeles being an inadvertent celebration of strip malls and common buildings: our city’s beauty is in its being stuck in trends and influences of urban construction past. Photographer Vicky Moon has realized this and is zooming in on the Los Angeles buildings that are markers of these eras past, decaying and mundane buildings we see everyday and admire for being embellishments on normality. She calls them Expired LA, a poignant title as it represents architectural and cultural trends that are common in Los Angeles but being forgotten as we focus on the future–and not restoration.
Moon’s Expired LA reveals her fascination with the most common of local structures: she is fascinated with “the drama that is created by the night” that causes these otherwise forgotten buildings to shine. These are buildings like dingy liquor stores, old hotels, crappy apartment buildings, and even sex theaters. She takes these photos on expired 4×5 film, making for glowing blue blurry portraits of these fading buildings.
She has an excellent eye for dignifying the most boring of our buildings and shows off why we love them. Those weird neon lights we love, those Art Deco curves, those strange font choices that could have only happened in 1960: all those wonderfully weird, totally LA details. Many of these places appear recently untraveled, perhaps forgotten, and they tug at this Americana/LA aesthetic: the photos grab at your preservation instincts. To see these (shitty) buildings and façades disappear is to see the history of LA evaporate. We hope Vicky Moon keeps up capturing Expired LA. You can catch more in the series here