WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?
Los Angeles - August, 2023
This photograph is a small love letter to the city of Los Angeles. For all its vapidity, superficialness and elaborate coffee orders, there is no denying its pre-eminence in the entertainment world. It is a place where creatives go to be challenged, humbled and occasionally propelled forward. As the comedian Steve Martin once said “the key is to be so good they can’t ignore you”.
Sunset Boulevard is the spiritual heart of West Hollywood and that makes it one of the most famous stretches of road in the world. There are not many places where a road itself is a tourist attraction, but Sunset is exactly that. It is not just a perfunctory means of getting from A to B, it is a visual feast from the ground level tarmac to the Californian sky above. The enormous billboards that lean down from above create a two-sided amphitheatre that informs drivers of all that is present.
I have long found a visceral connection with Sunset Boulevard. I would go as far as to say it might be my favourite stretch of road in the world. It is possibly a subconscious prompt to get better at what I do and never to accept the average. Hollywood destroys the mundane and the callow and that is no bad thing.
This is a dog-eat-dog world and they certainly love their dogs in LA. There are more pet shops these days in the city than newsagents. One day, just before we were closing a section of Sunset Boulevard for a Sunday morning shoot, we were having lunch in Il Pastaio - my family’s favourite Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills - and our concentration on the menus was broken by the sight of three Pomeranian dogs arriving in their own scaled down Lamborghini. The only passengers were the dogs and it was being driven remotely down the street by their owner who was out of sight. Only in LA - we all thought - and I knew what needed to be done. It was time to rip up our plans for the Sunday and adapt.
I want to thank the dogs - Rocky, Apollo and Napoleon - for being so easy and gentle to work with. But most of all, I want to thank their owner Anne Frankel who is rightly so proud of her boys. She bought two of these dogs on the passing of her husband and I see the love they have for her and vice versa. They are adored by all who meet them.
Only in LA, but it’s a beautiful world.