Just Above Sunset
May 28, 2006 - Visual Commentary

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Friday was a day for driving around Los Angeles and taking photographs for this weekend's issue.

But then, while driving around, you snap something that's just political commentary in and of itself.


Below? In Marina del Rey, the underclass illustrated at the yard where they sell and service extraordinarily expensive yachts. It's so California, the rich above, and the Hispanic workers below, having lunch. All as it should be, or something.

Class distinctions, Marina del Rey

And it's Memorial Day weekend. It used to be Decoration Day, a day to commemorate the men and women who died in military service for this country. It began as a holiday to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War, but after the First World War it was expanded to include anyone who died in any war or military action. The Veterans Memorial Park in Westwood, just west of UCLA, is crowded now. Below you see just a fraction of the grounds Friday morning. The photo is from nine in the morning. Deep marine layer with ground fog. The holiday begins.

Can we return to peaceful times, the good old days when we weren't at war? No. We always were at war somewhere or other. The pauses were anomalies, and they were brief. The contention that peace is that natural state of man is simply false. It's the exception. The evidence, all of history, proves it. Below is just some visual evidence.

But to be clear, this is not to say it is Americans, unfortunately, that can be best be defined by war - that's what we Americans do. Every nation is the same, every people. We're not exceptional, nor exceptionally bellicose. Man can be defined as the species that wars. It's what we do. You can glorify it. You can be sad. It hardly matters. Every nation and every people make war to define who they are, and who they are not. It gives us meaning. What else does?

Veterans Memorial Park in Westwood, Los Angeles

A final shot, tourists on Hollywood Boulevard as Memorial Day weekend begins. Flashy patriotism meets tacky commerce. America.

Flag and tourists on Hollywood Boulevard

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  

There is a copyright notice at the bottom of this page, of course.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED or AF Nikor 70-300 mm telephoto.

They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0
The original large-format raw files are available upon request.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
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