The Los Angeles blues. People have many different problems with Los Angeles, and rightly so, because L.A. is a decidedly problematic little megalopolis. But perhaps what it really boils down to is the light. The L.A. metro region, in fact all of Southern California, west to the desert, south to the border, has lousy light. People complain about the perpetual gray in Seattle, but that soft diffuse filtered light is actually exceptionally beautiful. Whereas the pathetic struggle of those blissful SoCal rays as they attempt to choke their way through the polluted chowder of the miserable SoCal air is a turnoff even for native Angelenos.
Gordon Willis, the legendary cinematographer who photographed The Godfather, The Parallax View, Manhattan, and numerous other classic films, and a man who knows a thing or two about light, has this to say about light in general, and the difference between the light in L.A. and the light in New York City:
"Light means a lot to me in life. You know, I hate to be in rooms that are don't have dimension and beautiful light, and I have the same feeling about living in a place that doesn't have dimension and light. I mean, I hate Los Angeles. It's like living inside a toaster oven. It's awful. The light stinks. The only time I like it there is in the winter when it's a little bit better. But I love New York light in the winter. Winter light is so beautiful. New York light in the winter is like my favorite thing, you move from light to dark, you move from a brilliant splash of sun to a midnight shadow. And you watch the sun come up in the east and go down in the west in New York and it looks like welding sometimes it's so beautiful. It's stunning. Mainly because it's moving through all of these buildings, and it bounces through windows and off windows and down into the street. And it's always changing, which is quite wonderful -- unless you happen to be photographing something, then you want to hurry up so you get it the right way."