Thursday, January 28, 2010



Last weekend I went on a Los Angeles Group flickrmeet to Pioneertown and Joshua Tree National Park. For this blog post I'm sharing photos from Pioneertown. If you'd like to check out photos other people took on the meet, check out this discussion thread on flickr. Next time I post, I'll share my Joshua Tree shots.

Here's a description of Pioneertown's cinematic history according to to

"Pioneertown was built in 1946 as a movie set for western movies, including the movies of Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, with Duncan Renaldo, Annie Oakley with Gail Davis, Judge Roy Bean with Edgar Buchanan, Range Rider with Jock O. Mahoney, and Buffalo Bill Jr. with Dick Jones. The movie set was to provide a place for the actors to live, and have their homes used as part of a movie set. Some of the original investors in the town were Roy Rogers, who also built thePioneer Bowl, Sons of the Pioneers, which the town was named after, Dick Curtis who was a professional villian in old movies, Bud Abbott, Russell Hayden, who played Lucky on the Hopalong Cassidy series, Louella Parsons the Hollywood gossip columnist and Philip N. Krasne: The Man Who Saved Pioneertown. Mane Street is private property and is always open to courteous pedestrians."

Pioneertown is only a two hour drive from L.A. We were graced by the beautiful presence of fresh snow all over Pioneertown.


Me on "Mane" Street. Photo by Laurie Thomson.

While most of the group wandered through the Pioneertown, I found myself drawn to the Pioneertown Motel in the back and the snow covered cars and landscape behind the Motel.







This is the motel.

The motel was very cool and had a lot of character. Each room has it's own kitchenette. It's definitely the kind of place I'd like to stay at in the future - quiet, peaceful, nostalgic.


A beautiful tree on Mane Street.

A funny snow woman by the motel.
This snow woman reminds me of Dustin Hoffman in drag as Dorothy Michaels in the classic early 80's romantic comedy "Tootsie"

It was pretty much a ghost town at Pioneertown - we were the only tourists. The only other people I saw were staying at the motel. A few of those were out walking their doggies out in the snow.

This cute doggie named Gracie was sunbathing in front of her two mommies' motel room.





As the group was getting ready to leave Pioneertown, I met these three amigos.

Tres Amigos

These guys were kind of like Jackass or Dumb and Dumber come to life. The guy on the left was a groom to be. On the way to get married, he got his car stuck in the mud. While working to get the car dug out of the mud with a shovel, he split the tux pants he was supposed to wear to the ceremony. Once they got the car out, the trio did some pre wedding celebrating with Pabst beers. This was just before 11am. The last thing I heard the groom say was something about he should have known better about getting the car stuck because he grew up driving that road and that his wife to be was going to be pissed and he probably wasn't going to be "getting any" tonight. At least he had a sense of humor about it. Good luck with the marriage buddy.

Photo credits © Lydia Marcus 2010 /
Photographed January 23, 2010 in Pioneertown, CA

Friday, January 22, 2010


Fun portraits of me from the Photographer's Fling, January 16, 2010, Santa Monica CA by The Holgasnake aka Carmen Luceno

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



Cali goes nuts over squeaky toys - I'm convinced she's made up her own language based on squeaks! I bought this rubber chew toy at Cost Plus World Market over the holidays. I hadn't given it to Cali yet because I was nervous about how quickly she would chew through it but lately she seems to be taking it a bit easier on her chew toys as she matures. So today I debuted the Doggie News ("All the news that's fit to chew") and she went wild over it. Unfortunately the toy only lasted about 15 minutes before she's chewed the corner off and it no longer squeaked. At least I got a cute picture out of it!

Cali, 10 Months Old
Photo credit © Lydia Marcus 2010 /
Photographed January 19, 2010 in Encino, CA

Thursday, January 14, 2010



I did this teaser photo for the SLIP AWAY movie website. The film's director, Tina Scorzafava, did the all post processing on it. The photo is of Michelle Bonilla, the film's writer, producer, and lead character. Michelle is known for playing paramedic "Christine Harms" on "ER" from 1999 to 2009.

We did the shoot at the director's house. I used ambient light coming from holiday lights in the room and reflected light coming from a small lamp's bare bulb bounced off a reflector. I shot with my Nikon D80 and Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens opened WIDE. I panned and dragged the camera very quickly (but steadily) a little to the left for some slight blur. Two fans were also used to create movement in the Michelle's hair.

The director wanted the teaser shot to look mysterious and was keen on having it look a little dreamy and out of focus. It's the first time I've been directed to shoot something intentionally out of focus and it was a fun challenge trying to match the vision in the director's head with the images I was getting with my camera. The shoot was a blend of technique and just pure happy accidents of movement until the director got what she envisioned.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


We all do it - self-portraits that is - whether we use reflection or shadow as our means or merely extend one arm outward as an organically connected tripod.

Lydia Pola Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait, holding Polaroid SX-70 Alpha, Encino, CA 2006

This is the image that I use the most online as the photographic representation of me (it's the image that greets you here on my blog, and on my flickr and twitter feeds) is a self-portrait that I shot in one of the bathrooms of my house. I like bathroom light, sometimes it reminds me of candlelight and it's usually a little softer and moody and the mirrors usually provide nice soft fill light. Holding my beloved Polaroid SX-70 Alpha in one hand, I used my other hand to hold my Polaroid SLR 680 SE and take the photo. I had to try it several times to get the expression and framing just right. I like how my eye connects with the viewer and that my expression is sexy and assured. I'm wearing no makeup whatsoever - what you see is what you get - natural me. But there are some tricks too, by using a slightly higher angle, I get more definition around the jaw line and eliminate any double chin. I like this picture the best because it distills me best as how I see me.

The reason I bring up self-portraits is that yesterday I saw The Sum of Myself: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection at BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum). The exhibition's last day is tomorrow, January 3, so I urge you to go this weekend. LACMA & BCAM have a great pay what you wish policy after 5pm, so you can even go for free or a slight donation.

Strangely, BCAM doesn't have an actual webpage devoted to the exhibit, but if you go here, you can scroll down and find a blurb about it. There's also a link here to the Irmas' collection online that has more info and photos.

What really struck me about the collection is the extra creativity people have when photographing themselves. Nearly all the shots represent truly thinking outside the box. Plus it's a chance to see prints from amazing photographers including Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe (represented in a self-portrait as a young man in drag and in a second intense portrait near the end of his life when ravaged by AIDS), Andre Kertész (the master of working with distortion from mirrors), Catherine Opie, William Wegman, Diane Arbus, Weegee, Walker Evans, and Lee Friedlander (whose buzz cut shadow self-portrait on the back of a woman's head and fur coat was pure genius). Honestly there's so much incredible work in this exhibit that it's the kind of show that gives me the good kind of headache that comes from inspirational overload.

Here are a bunch of my self-portraits:

Lydia Warhol
Self-portrait, costumed as Andy Warhol for Halloween, Woodland Hills, CA 2006

Self-portrait, top of a boulder at Stoney Point, Chatsworth, CA 2009

Self-portrait, ornament on the Venice Canal, Venice, CA 2008

Self-portrait, mirror in antique shop, Oatman, AZ 2009

Self-portrait, mirror at Bagdad Cafe, Amboy, CA 2009

Self-portrait, reflected off a building at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA 2009

Self-portrait, mirror on trolley in Beverly Hills, CA 2009

Self-portrait, Stoney Point, Chatsworth, CA 2009

Self-portrait, shadow behind Tom's Welding, Barstow, CA 2009

And here are some self-portraits on display in The Sum of Myself: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection at BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum).

Clockwise from top: Nan Goldin, Self Portrait in the Mirror at the Lodge, Belmont, MA, 1998, Diane Arbus, Self Portrait in Mirror, 1945 (detail), Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1988. All images in this post: The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection
(Image pulled from the LACMA blog UNFRAMED)

Bruce Nauman, Study for Holograms, 1970, Catherine Opie, Self Portrait, 1993
(Image pulled from the LACMA blog UNFRAMED)