Photographer’s Eye: Rick Castro S/M Blvd: Street Hustler Photographs

Rick Castro Image 1

Photographer’s Eye Presents “Rick Castro S/M Blvd: Street Hustler Photographs”

Wednesday, February 21, 2024
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A

Reservations not required. Seating is first-come, first-serve.

As a lifelong Los Angeleno, I know the pulse of my city. The surface shiny and sunny, the underbelly so dark one could burn in the shadows. My documentation of the street hustlers on Santa Monica Boulevard began as an obsession around 1990. The last era of male sex workers before the Internet centered around in-person communication that was raw and lustful, yet surprisingly innocent. For me, this was the quintessential romanticized L.A. story. Rejected souls from everywhere come to Hollywood trying to make it with all they have: their own bodies. To date my efforts have produced numerous photos, my first script, co-directing a feature-length film (Hustler White, 1996), and three books.

Rick Castro is a photographer, filmmaker and writer. Based in Los Angeles his entire life, he has created portraits of Gore Vidal, Kenneth Anger, Michele Lamy, and the 14th Dalai Lama, and created fashion editorials for Christian Dior Homme, Cartier, and Rick Owens. His latest book, Rick Castro S/M Blvd: Street Hustler Photographs and Remembrances 1986-1999 (All Night Menu Books, 2023), combines images and memories of the brief times he spent with the guys he met while cruising up and down “the loop” in his 1967 Mercury Cougar. Castro’s photography and writings are currently featured in “Copy Machine Manifesto: Artists Who Make Zines,” at Brooklyn Museum in New York City, thru March 31, 2024.

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

All images © Rick Castro.

Programs Galore in August!

Hi Photo Fans! For the month of August, we’re sponsoring some great content over at the air conditioned  Central Library. All programs are free so come and join us!

Tracey Goessel Presents The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks
Saturday, August 4
2-4pm, Taper Auditorium

Douglas Fairbanks was the top male box office attraction of his generation, the star of some of the greatest films of the 1910s and 1920s. He shaped our idea of the Hollywood hero, starring in silent films such as The Mask of Zorro, Robin Hood and The Thief of Baghdad, and Hollywood has never been the same since.

His story, like his movies, is full of passion, bravado, romance and desire.

Join Tracey Goessel, author of The First King of Hollywood, to celebrate the paperback release of the book. Revel in the mystique of classic Hollywood as Goessel shares stories about Fairbanks and his life, including some of the quirky, unknown anecdotes that either did not make it into the pages of her book, or which were discovered after publication.

Photographer’s Eye – Double Vision: George Rodriguez
Wednesday, August 15
12:15-1pm, Meeting Room A

The career of photographer George Rodriguez reveals a visual history of Los Angeles that spans over 45 years. Born and raised in South L.A., he has documented some of the most important struggles in the city’s history: the East Los Angeles Student Walkouts, the Chicano Moratorium, and the United Farm Workers movement, alongside others. Through his work in the television, recording, and film industries, he has photographed stars like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison, and more. A student of Sid Avery and a contemporary of Dennis Hopper, Rodriguez was often the first Latino photographer in the room at a time when his own rights were on the line.

Tarzan on Screen and Page: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Literary Legacy
Saturday, August 18
2-4pm, Taper Auditorium

2018 marks the Centennial of Tarzan of the Apes (1918), the first Tarzan film to be adapted from the adventure tale by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Film historian and Burroughs expert Scott Tracy Griffin will discuss the author’s prolific body of work, which includes 80 novels, 60 films, and 7 television shows. Burroughs is also directly responsible for the founding of the San Fernando Valley city of Tarzana.

Scott Tracy Griffin is the author of Tarzan on Film (Titan Books, 2016) and Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration (Titan Books, 2012), a 2013 Locus Award Finalist for Best Art Book. He is ranked among the foremost authorities on novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs and his literary legacy. Tracy received his undergraduate degree from Millsaps College and his MBA from California State University Los Angeles, and is the Director of Special Projects for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in Tarzana, California.


Photographer’s Eye: Placeholder for a Grand Central Market Archive

Connor PE

Photographer’s Eye: Placeholder for a Grand Central Market Archive

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Central Library, Meeting Room A

Reservations not required. Doors open at approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

Fiona Connor set up a large format Toyo View camera in the middle of Grand Central Market, a bustling culinary bazaar in downtown Los Angeles whose rapid makeover in recent years has been the source of cheerleading as well as anger over the changing nature of the city’s urban core. Opened in the late 1800s, Grand Central was long seen as a celebration of the city’s melting-pot character. Immigrants from Michoacan served up carnitas near stands that hawked cheap bowls of Hong Kong-style wonton soup. It was a place for everybody, and anybody, or so goes the narrative of those opposed to its recent evolution.

As city leaders have pushed for a downtown L.A. “renaissance,” with historic buildings transformed into stylish lofts and skid row’s homeless population pushed farther and farther to the margins, Grand Central has transformed, too. In just a few years, dozens of food stalls were pushed out as new ones serving up oysters and craft beer to the neighborhood’s growing class of young professionals moved in.

Over the course of 12 months, Connor documented this change in a work titled “Placeholder for a Grand Central Market Archive.” Once a month, she returned to the exact same spot at lunchtime and took a single photograph. The result is an edition of 12 sets of 8×10 prints that are a telling record of the market’s evolution. From one photo to the next, paint-cracked pillars change suddenly from black to white. A construction wall goes up. When it comes down, a brand new stall has been erected, an upscale bar opened by a pair of Hollywood restauranteurs that offers a collection of upscale wines as well as chicharones, fried pork rinds are a nod to the market’s not-so-distant past.

Connor’s prints will become part of the photo collection at the Los Angeles Public Library, joining other historical images of Grand Central Market for the public to use. The edition is designed so it can be seamlessly added to the collection, which is housed at Central Library downtown.

For her talk she will discuss this project and other examples where she has worked with existing archives.

Fiona Connor is a New Zealander born in 1981, currently living and practicing her art in Los Angeles. She received a degree in Fine Arts and History from the University of Auckland, and she earned her Masters in Fine Arts at California Institute of the Arts. Connor’s work uses strategies of repetition to produce objects that interrogate their own form by engaging different histories embedded within our built environment. For her, fabrication is a form of research. Her work was recognized in New Zealand when she was shortlisted in 2010 as one of four finalists for the bi-annual Walter’s Prize for contemporary art. Her installations are held by the Auckland City Art Gallery, The Dowse Gallery, the Te Papa in Wellington, the Christchurch Art Gallery, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. During the past eight years since being resident in Los Angeles Connor has devoted her energies both locally and across a global spread with exhibitions in New York, Barcelona, Basel, Istanbul, Sydney and Auckland. Connor’s artistic career has displayed a consistent attraction to working in a collaborative way and fluidly between curating, facilitating and object making. An example being the Newspaper Reading Club founded in 2011, and the conversion of her own Los Angeles apartment over 12 months into a gallery titled Laurel Doody in 2016.

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

New Exhibit “The Industry in Our Backyard: Television Production in Los Angeles 1940s-1980s” Opens at Central Library Next Week!

Writer and co-creator Tom Patchett, left, and voice actor Paul Fusco, right, voice are confronted with last-minute script changes from star ALF. Photograph dated August 28, 1987.

From Lucy to ALF, from game shows to talk shows, from local news to the made-for-TV movie, The Industry In Our Backyard: Television Production In Los Angeles, 1940s -1980s showcases four decades in the life of the medium that dominated American culture, yet for Angelenos, was just another part of daily life in L.A.  The exhibit runs from January 18 through July 15, 2018, along with a series of presentations given by television industry professionals and archivists.

Join us for light refreshments 6 p.m. and remarks at 7 p.m. as we unveil the exhibit and introduce special guest speakers who will provide their own perspectives on what makes television produced in L.A. so unique. Copies of a companion catalog will be made available for purchase.

Sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection and Photo Friends.

Check Out These July Photo Friends Events

Photo Friends Events for July 2017

L.A. Landmarks: Lost and Almost Lost - Opening Reception

L.A. Landmarks: Lost and Almost Lost – Opening Reception

Thursday, July 13, 2017
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Central Library
History/Genealogy Dept. – LL4

Reservations not required.

From famous icons to hidden gems, Los Angeles has amazing architecture as diverse as the city itself. But L.A.’s long tradition of reinvention has left beloved landmarks in its wake. This exhibit highlights just a few of the many great buildings that fell to the wrecking ball, as well as some that narrowly escaped. The landmarks we almost lost might surprise you, and their survival offers hope for a future that celebrates our past.

Join us for light refreshments and brief remarks from curator Cindy Olnick as we celebrate the opening of the latest exhibit featuring images from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Sponsored by Photo Friends.










L.A. in Focus: The Wilshire Slides 1978-79, a Mother & Daughter Kodachrome Adventure

L.A. in Focus: The Wilshire Slides 1978-79, a Mother & Daughter Kodachrome Adventure

Saturday, July 15, 2017
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Central Library
Mark Taper Auditorium

Reservations not required. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

It was a heck of an after-school project for a mother and daughter: do an informal photo survey of the Wilshire Boulevard from downtown to the ocean. Mother Marlene was a Michigan native who’d come to L.A. in the late 1950s and loved everything about the city, especially the architecture. Daughter Annie liked the architecture too, and loved using her mom’s Minolta camera. Together, they spent about a dozen Tuesday afternoons in 1978-9 walking Wilshire; Marlene taking notes and Annie taking pictures. The result was over 1000 Kodachrome slides, documenting L.A.’s iconic street from its great landmarks to its empty lots.

In 2010, Annie donated the Wilshire slides to the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. Nearly 40 years later, the slides have turned into a unique time capsule of a boulevard that is in a constant state of change. Join Annie Laskey, Eric Lynxwiler, and Shannon Simonds as they take a closer look at some of the Wilshire slides, selected by Annie, as she looks back on those Tuesday afternoons she spent with her mom on Wilshire Boulevard.

Copies of the new book “The Wilshire Slides: A Mother & Daughter Kodachrome Adventure” will be for sale at the end of the program.

Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. Sponsored by Photo Friends.


Photographer’s Eye: Todd Blubaugh – Too Far Gone

Todd Blubaugh Image 1

Photographer’s Eye: Todd Blubaugh – Too Far Gone

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
12:15pm to 1:00pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A

Reservations not required. Doors open at approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

Author and photographer Todd Blubaugh quit his job in pursuit of adventure on the open road, driven by his twin passions for photography and motorcycle culture. All told, Todd spent six months on the road, touching down in various U.S. cities during his transcontinental trip. His time spent traveling marks a personal sea change, and a period of great self-discovery. Too Far Gone (Gingko Press, 2016) is the photographic and anecdotal account of his experiences, presented through short vignettes as well as personal letters and artifacts, creating a compelling memoir of freedom, loss, and the search for human identity.

Todd Blubaugh was born and raised in McPherson,Kansas. His earliest interests were in art and motorbikes and since the age of 12, Todd has been pursuing these two passions. He currently works in film, writes, shoots and pursues collaborations with his roommates at The Chun, a motorcycle warehouse and art space in Los Angeles.

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

All images © 2017, Todd Blubaugh.

Author Program: The Marx Brothers in Vaudeville (1905-1932)

Four Marx Bros Cocoanuts

The Marx Brothers in Vaudeville (1905-1932)

Saturday, May 13, 2017
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Central Library
Mark Taper Auditorium

Reservations not required. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.


Four Marx Bros
The Marx Brothers were known for wreaking their special kind of havoc on movie screens, but it was on the stage where they perfected their craft.Through rare images and video clips, author Robert S. Bader (Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage, 2016) traces the gradual formation of the team as each teenaged Marx brother enters show business. Over a ten-year period they slowly develop the act that would make them stars and move them out of the difficult lifestyle of vaudeville and onto greater success on Broadway and in Hollywood.


Four of the Three Musketeers


Copies of Four of the Three Musketeers will be for sale after the presentation.

ROBERT S. BADER is the editor of Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales. He is the curator of the Bing Crosby Archive and produced the television special The Legendary Bing Crosby. In addition to producing Dick Cavett’s Watergate and Dick Cavett’s Vietnam for PBS, Bader is also the writer and producer of the Warner Bros. documentary The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk. He has also produced numerous archival DVD releases, including two sets of You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx. His recent DVD productions include the Marx Brothers TV Collection; The Honeymooners: Lost Episodes, 1951–1957; and The Best of the Danny Kaye Show. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and several dogs.

Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection and the Literature & Fiction Department. Sponsored by Photo Friends.

All images courtesy of Robert S. Bader.

Photographer’s Eye: Pro Tips to Improve Your Photography

Raul Roa Image 1

Photographer’s Eye: Pro Tips to Improve Your Photography

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
12:15pm to 1:00pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A

Reservations not required, but early arrival is recommended to guarantee a seat which is first come, first serve. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

Raul Roa, a veteran photographer will discuss photojournalism techniques to improve your photography and what’s in your photo toolbox for today’s social media. He will speak about using not only conventional digital cameras and lenses but also using iPhone and GoPro cameras in the course of working as a photojournalist and the techniques used to improve your overall photography skills.

Raul Roa has worked as a photojournalist for 23 years in Southern California and is Presently a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times Community News covering Burbank, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge. He is also an avid bird photographer and astrophotographer.

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Image: ©Raul Roa 2017

Spend this Saturday with Photo Friends and the LAPL Photo Collection!

This Saturday (December 10th) is all about the LAPL Photo Collection and Photo Friends.


At 2pm the Photo Collection is teaming up with the UCLA Film & Television Archive for a special presentation. Before Huell Howser, Jack Linkletter sought out the human interest side of Los Angeles through his short-lived television program On the Go.  Join us as Dan Einstein and Mark Quigley of UCLA Film & Television Archive will present an overview of the Archive as a research resource as well as screen clips from recently preserved episodes of the locally-produced, On The Go (KNXT, 1959–60), featuring Vincent Price with William Castle, Hollywood Studio Club and Marineland. Footage courtesy of City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

Full details are available on the LAPL website.


In the evening, have fun while knocking out some holiday shopping as Photo Friends presents its first ever rummage sale! We’ll have lots of old exhibit prints available at dirt cheap prices. Perfect for the Los Angeles history buff in your life.

5558 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles 90042
Sat. Dec. 10, 2016 (7-10pm)
Also open Sun. Dec. 11 (2-5pm)
Sat. Dec. 17 (2-6pm)
Sun. Dec. 18 (2-5pm)
and by appointment 323-254-4565

Photographer’s Eye: “Seeing” Downtown with David K. Thompson

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
12:15pm to 1:00pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A


Reservations not required. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

“In a series of photographs inspired by the Japanese woodblock printer Hiroshige, local photographer and silkscreen artist David Thompson takes a fresh look at the urban environment of downtown Los Angeles.  As much of the downtown skyline changes, and with it the nature of life of the city, Mr. Thompson focuses on specific ways of truly “looking” at the city’s built environment and architectural legacy.  He explores the value of elevation, projection and compression as conscious ways of seeing the city the lies before us.  He also takes a closer look at downtown streetscapes, the role of “text” in the life of the city and even that most notorious eyesore of urban life:  the parking lot.”

“David K. Thompson was born in New York and raised in Florida, Japan, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Puerto Rico  He has worked — as an editor, diplomat and transactional lawyer — in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Paris and Los Angeles.  But the longest constant in his working life has been a dedication to silkscreen printing, based, for the most part, on his own photography.  His most recent artwork focuses on city streetscapes, architecture and infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on Los Angeles.  Based in Pasadena, he actively explores virtually every corner of Los Angeles with his camera.  He has also begun to treat his urban photographic work as an end in itself, often combining it with historic and architectural commentary, drawing in particular on the rich heritage of contemporary newspaper accounts — including especially advertisements — of the city and its occupations.

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Additional details available on the LAPL website.