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June 15, 2021

Hollywood in Kodachrome: Vintage Photos of Life in LA From 1979 to 1983

In the late seventies, American photographer Matt Sweeney dropped out of high school with dreams of becoming a movie maker. Upon finding out about Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope education/training/internship program, Sweeney, then 17 years old, moved to Hollywood to pursue that. As he wanted to work behind the camera, Sweeney started practicing shooting Kodachrome slides loaded on a 35mm camera Nikon F2.

Inspired by the likes of Garry Winogrand, Minor White, Elliott Erwitt, Wynn Bullock, Eugene Smith, and Annie Leibowitz, he set out to document the world around him on the streets of Hollywood, photographing scenes between home and work from 1979 through 1983. He captured small and unexpected moments with unique characters, and in his images, the daily life of Hollywood Boulevard was told through the colors, the compositions, the angles, the intersections and the landscape.

The internship, however, never happened. At 21, Sweeney moved on, selling his equipment and working through college to do lab work. “I went to Hollywood to 'make it', but didn't, and ended up taking pictures of Hollywood, capturing scenes of others 'not making it' as well. It didn't escape me then and it doesn't now.” Still, he held onto his slides, and now decided to digitalize all of his twenty years of work and published them on Tumblr and on his website.


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