The Santa Monica Experience

April 28th, 2010 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Billboard And Sign, Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California, 2009 by David Leland Hyde, Nikon D90 hand held.

People have asked me to give a little tasty taste of what I photograph, ponder and write about while I’m on the road on the way to a Philip Hyde exhibition opening, or while I’m lugging around framed prints.

I did write something called “The Santa Monica Experience,” that I sent as an e-mail to my list of friends of Philip Hyde Photography on November 7, 2009. I wrote it at a friend’s beautiful house, not even close to the largest in the neighborhood, but way above my status. I wrote the e-mail sitting in my friend’s guest suite looking out at the swimming pool, lawns, orange trees, lemon trees, and several other fruit trees while the smell of exotic flowers filled the air. I was visiting Pacific Palisades, between Santa Monica and Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway, in my Dad’s tan 1984 Ford Van, with a dent on the right side and the paint peeling off, parked in the driveway. I had just returned from leaving 30 framed archival fine art digital prints at Santa Monica College for the upcoming exhibition.

Wow, SUNSHINE! I love L. A….

Not a drip of smog, blue skies, warm days, scantily-fashionably clad beautiful people everywhere…

Waves, Beach, Santa Monica, California, 2009 by David Leland Hyde, Nikon D90 hand held.

…The speed limit is 45 on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica and I’m doing 60. Mercedes, BMW’s, Porsches blasting past me like I’m standing still. The last mad race of a race madly running like lemmings into the sun… On the radio of the convertible Mustang ahead of me, Madonna scintillating, “You might be my lucky star…” The girl in the white Saab looks at me, like, “You have a lot of nerve to drive that old jalopy van along here and look at me.”

The van is a quiet tan from an era gone by, but not lost at Santa Monica College. They teach cutting edge digital photography and old fashioned darkroom black and white print making. It is the only college in the United States that still teaches Ilfochrome printing. Santa Monica College has millions of dollars in photography equipment. In the new and high tech business building on the second floor there’s this beautiful gallery space with top quality lighting, completely straight white bare walls, where the work of a quiet man who loved nature will hang for an instant in time. And this quiet show starts tonight. It is the “Road Less Traveled…”

Come see…
Tonight is the night.
Santa Monica College.
It will be good for your soul…
David Leland Hyde
Philip Hyde Photography
Fine Art For Earth’s Sake Since 1942

This next time the show will be at Mountain Light Gallery. A different show. Come see. It will be good for your soul…

And, maybe somewhere along the way, in Reno, Carson City, Mono Lake, Mammoth, Bishop, Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, maybe Death Valley National Park, maybe even Yosemite National Park, I will write another experience. There is always plenty to write about and photograph on the road…



  1. Richard Wong says:

    Fantastic post, David. An accurate description of the “westside” in my opinion. Creative way to mention the upcoming Mountain Light show as well.

  2. Hi Richard, thank you. Couldn’t help thinking about my visit to L. A. with this next show coming up. It is a wonderful place to visit on the right day. Beautiful enough to understand why people moved there in droves all last century. It is a different story when you live there though in my experience. It is a pretty rough, violent and unforgiving city. I lived in Newport Beach for eight months and in West L. A. one time that lasted for about a year before I had to get out of there. I lived there through the Rodney King Riots in 1992. I saw the gas station I frequented burned down, the grocery store and office supply I shopped at busted in and looted. I agreed with the whole concept of a revolt against white police oppression, but it was a little strange being white and in the middle of all of it. I went to pick up my dry cleaning and in the dry cleaners I got to talking and flirting with a young black lady. She sort of took me aside and whispered to me at the end that she had nothing against me but that if she was my color she would just leave town or stay indoors while all of that was going on because there was a lot of anger. Everything was on fire in a big circle around where I lived when I left for New Mexico at the end of the second day of riots. When I came back I found out the dry cleaners had been hit just hours after I was there. The subsequent move to New Mexico was one of the best changes I ever made. It resurrected my life. Still it is fun to visit the big city of dreams now and then before it falls into the ocean, runs out of water, or the whole town burns, whichever happens first.

  3. Richard Wong says:

    Wow. 1992 must have been a scary time. My uncle had a liquor store in central L.A. back then and if I remember correctly, no one really messed with his store because the people respected him for sticking around for so many years. They did get held up several times over the years though.

  4. Hi Richard. Your uncle must have been a tough dude to have a Liquor store in central L.A. I would think he would get held up regularly. He might have certain arrangements prepared for the routine of getting robbed, sort of like a fire escape plan. Sounds like an interesting uncle.

Leave a Reply