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Photography

Friday, October 19, 2007 Memento Mori

Life and death on the Sunset Strip the gift shop at San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, across from the Whiskey a Go Go and pretty much next door to the Viper Room, two weeks before Halloween.  It's that time again the up and coming young actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose on Halloween morning in 1993, on the sidewalk in front of the Viper room.

"Live Large" billboard, San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
Halloween at "Aahs" - San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
Halloween at "Aahs" - San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
Halloween at "Aahs" - San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
Halloween at "Aahs" - San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

Behind the Viper Room

Sticker behind the Viper Room, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
Stickers behind the Viper Room, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
Meter behind the Viper Room, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

In the window of the nearby Book Soup

"Empty the Sun" promo in the window of Book Soup, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

Above Book Soup, the emptiness of it all

Blank billboard, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
"Live Large" billboard, San Vicente and Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood
101707_ghost00e

Note:

    Colonial American art saw a large amount of "memento mori" images in their art because of their puritan influence. The Puritan community in 17th century America looked down upon art because they believed it drew the faithful away from God, and if away from God, then it could only lead to the devil. However, portraits were considered historical records, and as such they were allowed. Thomas Smith, a 17th century Puritan, fought in many naval battles, and also painted. In his painting Self-Portrait we see a typical puritan "memento mori" with a skull, suggesting his imminent death. The poem under the skull is a common puritanical poem which emphasizes Smith's acceptance to death:

    Why why should I the World be minding, Therein a World of Evils Finding. Then Farwell World: Farewell thy jarres, thy Joies thy Toies thy Wiles thy Warrs. Truth Sounds Retreat: I am not sorye. The Eternall Drawes to him my heart, By Faith (which can thy Force Subvert) To Crowne me (after Grace) with Glory.

There are faint echoes of the Puritan community in 17th century America on the Sunset Strip.

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the "fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back this site.

Technical Note:

Most of these photographs were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.  Earlier photography was done with a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom.

[Memento Mori]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik