Zack Herrera is a Los Angeles based photographer with a unique view of Downtown. To him, it’s a dark and mysterious area home to a unique magic. He cleverly relates DTLA to Oz, the fantasy land in L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and uses it as the point of departure for a set of photos that portrays Downtown as a green concrete metropolis.
The body of work is Downtown Oz. It starts simply enough, removed from Downtown via the 101 (the “Road To Oz”), and goes on to place Downtown fixtures (LA Live, Angels Flight, Jewelry District) amongst neighboring places where whimsy has snuck into a normal banal office jungle. Photos like Do Not Pass above serve as warning signs for a modern Dorothy instead of directions for cars. The lights and shapes of Lower Grand come off as looking like a castle’s entrance instead of the underside of a bridge. Even the cracking tunnel in For Tunnel Sake (below) appears to be the entry into a witch’s cave instead of some bridge’s underpass. Herrera cleverly repurposes Downtown imagery, changing it from another neighborhood to a place not too disimilar from that one television show about fairy tale people in the real world.
Herrera has struck something great with Downtown Oz. He retells Baum’s story without people. It’s almost as if he is location scouting for a new Oz film that takes place in DTLA. It’s always great to see LA artists look at our city in unexpected ways: Herrera’s work is a great example of this.
Speaking of, Herrera actually sent us his work as he wanted to share an upcoming photo event he’s a part of. The event is Thursday’s Hello, Goodnight which will take place at Space15twenty. It is an evening to celebrate “night photography in Los Angeles,” which will be shared via projection. There will be cocktails and music and certainly will share sides of LA you haven’t seen before.