Iris Schneider considers herself an accomplished observer of life in Los Angeles. As a staff photographer at the L.A. Times for 27 years, and as a freelance photographer in New York and Los Angeles, she honed her skills watching the world go by and commenting on the complexity, irony and humor of life with her camera. Her columns, both photographs and words, appear occasionally at LA Observed.
"Today there are very few photographers. But there are a lot of people with cameras."
Images by Iris Schneider of the march Saturday in downtown Los Angeles.
The Pussyhat Project was born at The Little Knittery, where women have been knitting pink hats for Saturday.
I attended services at the church of Stew (and Heidi) last night.
For many years I had searched for a way to go to Africa with an organization that was improving the lives of women.
Saturday was the biggest day yet of Los Angeles protests against the dangerous rhetoric used by candidate Donald Trump, now the president-elect.
Mike Woo, the dean of Cal Poly Pomona's College of Environmental Design, played tour guide for 50 students to explore LA by night.
There was an audible sigh of relief at the news, but questions remain.
It's clear the DWP had no real plan to refill the now-dry lake bed, leaving residents and visitors shaking their heads.
Especially on a day like today, we need to be reminded of the joy in the world.
Visiting Los Angeles to promote the documentary "Presenting Princess Shaw," YouTube sensation Samantha Montgomery's joy is infectious.
The news photographer has covered Afghanistan, Iraq, Republic of the Congo and the Middle East and was held hostage in Libya.
A sweeping show of photography and programming focused on the global refugee crisis has opened in Century City.
The first English-language film from Norwegian director Joachim Trier takes a sober look at Isabelle Reed.
Cinematographer John Simmons first turned his eye on the black community in Chicago. His exhibit is in Koreatown until April 10.
Unprecedented dual exhibits of Robert Mapplethorpe's photography are now at the Getty and LACMA.
In honor of President's Day, the Thomas Paine Society, recreated Paine's Headstrong Evening Club with debate, libations and rousing conversation on the topic, "Race in America: How Far Have We Come Since Slavery?"
Photos of Gary Sweeney's childhood are visible from the street, with guided tours each Wednesday in February. The house will seen be razed.
The mood one day at lunch was jubilant. The celebrity chef was exhausted but happy.
Photographer Iris Schneider went down onto the dry bed of Silver Lake to have a look around.
Six years after his exoneration and release from prison, Lisker accepts a deal to end his civil suit against the LAPD and city of Los Angeles.
Bruce Lisker talks to law students about his legal case and gives hope to incarcerated girls.
The Japanese photographer's work is on view at the Getty.
"Frame by Frame," a documentary about journalists in Afghanistan, and "Spotlight" -- about the Boston reporters who uncovered the Catholic priest sex scandal -- both open today.
This opera on the move across Los Angeles changes the nature of spectator and artist. Check out our sneak peek.
There are currently at least three productions of Shakespearean plays and variations, some more successful than others.
The dress code varies from beachwear to bistro, making the event a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.
The artist's latest big idea is his way to have a different conversation about art, music, time and place.
The documentary is based on tapes that Marlon Brando made over the course of his career, trying to make sense of himself and his life.
Sanders filled the Los Angeles Sports Arena to capacity on Monday.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel hosted an poolside screening of "Endless Summer" for the 50th anniversary of the surfing culture...
Kamasi Washington and the West Coast Get Down performed at Hollywood and Highland's Wine and Jazz Summer Concerts series.
The buddy movie takes you on a wild ride along Santa Monica Boulevard one Christmas Eve -- a raucous adventure that keeps you laughing despite sordid car sex, cheating husbands, lots of drugs, angry johns, fits of rage and outright acts of cruelty.
The event I attended perfectly represented the Cinefamily mission "to reinvigorate the movie-going experience by fostering a spirit of community and a sense of discovery."
What is the role of the artist in an imperfect world? Noah Purifoy, the son of sharecroppers in the South, seemed to have it right.
Mayor Eric Garcetti was among the speakers at avery moving and diverse service on Thursday night.
These two fuzzy women were spotted walking around Silver Lake Reservoir with a camera crew following.
Creator Matthew Weiner thanked the audience for their loyalty and they cheered, laughed and cried through the final episode.
Burden's final finished work goes on display Monday at LACMA.
On Sunday night about 200 people gathered to watch an outdoor screening of the silent classic, "The Passion of Joan of Arc," under the Buena Vista bridge.
As a photographer, it was exhilarating to visit the Getty and meet photographers who are exploring frontiers, sometimes breaking new ground and sometimes riffing on the work of earlier pioneers.
The Italian Saxophone Quartet gave a beautiful performance of music of the cinema, including Ennio Morricone's haunting music from "Cinema Paradiso."
"City of Lights, City of Angels" concludes Tuesday with a re-screening of the winners.
Vincent Lamouroux says he was always attracted to the motel at Sunset and Bates on his visits to LA from France. On Sunday, his transformation officially goes on view.
Wim Wenders' reverent documentary about photographer Sebastiao Salgado should be required viewing for every member of the human race, says Iris Schneider.
Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo makes his point about the dangers of racism and prejudice in a visceral way.
A three-judge appeals panel wastes no time in siding with Lisker on a key legal point in his lawsuit against two LAPD detectives.
Koudelka brought us into the Soviet invasion on the streets of Prague in 1968 by smuggling out his film. In a gripping show of his black and white images, we are thrown back into those days.
The Da Camera Society's mission is to promote and enhance chamber music. Doheny Mansion "is the perfect setting to play this music."
The downtown museum-to-be opened its doors on Sunday for a public viewing. Photos inside.
Lisker is still waiting on a trial for his civil suit against the city of Los Angeles and two LAPD detectives over his wrongful murder conviction.
A long line of Angelenos was already outside when the renovated Hollyhock House opened in Barnsdall Park on Friday afternoon. The crowds kept coming all Valentine's Day.
Wooster Group production exposes something profound about the life and lives of Shaker women.
I understand Mayor Garcetti's desire to create more pedestrian-friendly development in Hollywood, but that's not what happened.
Outside City Hall, friends and family of California inmates identified as innocent by the California Innocence Project pleaded for Governor Brown to commute their sentences for the holidays.
United Artists Theater at the Ace Hotel downtown was the home for a screening of "Putney Swope" to honor director Robert Downey, Sr. and raise money for Cinefamily.
After 36 years of wrongful incarceration, Michael Hanline took his first steps into freedom with his wife Sandee by his side. He went to jail in 1978.
There is a lot to learn at the academy's costume exhibit in the old May Company on Wilshire, but after an hour I found myself seeking solace. There must be a way to create a more conducive environment.
Cane and Basket Supply Co. has been in business on Cochran Avenue off San Vicente since 1934.
The AFI Film Festival, AARP's Films for Grownups and Elevator Repair Service at the Redcat — it was a good week.
I spent an enjoyable evening in Nixon's Oval office recently along with other Nixonphiles and -phobes like political writer Richard Reeves and KCRW's Warren Olney.
The annual Day of the Dead festivities on Saturday night brought out crowds to Hollywood Forever cemetery.
As the market's owner shifts to attract more upscale downtowners, lower-end vendors and their customers lose out.
More than 300 fans of the written word, Hollywood-style, packed the Ricardo Montalban Theater on Vine Street Saturday night for the latest performance presented by The Blacklist.
Fans ignored the heat to watch their favorite Korean pop stars chat and mingle at KCON, billed as the largest North American event dedicated to "all things hallyu."
He made the companion film to "Restrepo" after the death in Libya of photographer and collaborator Tim Hetherington. "Korengal" seeks to show what war feels like.
During my years at the Los Angeles Times, I spent time at Jordan Downs on assignment and personal projects, documenting the lives of the residents. I went back to see what, if anything, had changed.
Photos from the preview of the new show at both the Geffen Contemporary and in MOCA's main space on Grand Avenue.
A panel discussion at the Annenberg Space for Photography was a call to action, and to pursuing your dreams.
It's not easy to find someone whose right brain and left brain are each working overtime. But photographer Abelardo Morell is more than a creative spirit.
Wooster Group definitely has its fans and followers and many were in the Redcat audience--at least until intermission.
Ry Cooder was at The Echo last night, backing for Juliette Commagere (his daughter-in-law) on the slide guitar. The show was a free event.
Bruce Lisker has spent much of his life waiting. At 17, accused of murdering his mother, he waited for his trial to begin. Now after 26 years in prison, he is building a married life and still waiting.
City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilman Tom LaBonge, and author and food critic Ruth Reichl were among those on hand.
"While making this movie we did not think This is going to get us to LACMA one day," said director Chris Weitz. But it did.
The pop-up installation at 9th and Broadway only looks like a fast food restaurant. The whole thing is made of cardboard — it's like a Caine's Arcade for adults. Place your order and see what happens.
Christmas Eve over Downtown Los Angeles, from the roof of the Toy Factory lofts. Photo is part of Iris...
Chinatown scene by Iris Schneider
Photo by Iris Schneider.
Like a repellent exhibit at Ripley's Believe It or Not that you can't take your eyes off, Shaul Schwarz's documentary "Narco Cultura" keeps you riveted.
I went up to the Griffith Observatory at the end of the day on Saturday. The moon and Venus were bright in the sky and lots of people were capturing the city lights on their phones and cameras.
Using recycled objects like buttons, tin cans, wire, yardsticks, pencils, soda can pop tops, teddy bear eyes and rosaries, Clare Graham has created an environment that is a jaw-dropping homage to creativity, imagination and perseverance.
The first AARP Films for Grownups Film Festival this past weekend at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live included screenings of "12 Years a Slave," "Nebraska" and other new films.
The innovative opera staged inside Union Station continues this weekend. The whole is so much more than the sum of its parts, writes Iris Schneider.
Last night at the Leica Gallery, the red carpet and velvet ropes were in place as photography royalty bumped up against the art wannabes. When Matthew McConaughey came through the door, the paparazzi could relax.
A review of big new books by Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry and Elliott Erwitt.
No Age and Beck performed as part of the traveling art show that stopped at LA's train station on Thursday night.
Migrating Vaux's Swifts circle their roost in a downtown Los Angeles chimney on Friday evening. Until they continue their...
The design is fascinating but certainly not understated, and it will probably get its share of visitors just to see the building. Tuesday was media tour day with remarks by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Los Angeles has poured money, and years of thought, into the creation of Grand Park. Here are my suggestions to make it more fun to visit.
If you see this movie, it's likely you won't be going back to Sea World anytime soon. With interactive entertainment what it is today, have zoos themselves become obsolete?
We went to see "Chinatown" at Union Station along with a few hundred other folks for the closing night of the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. Great film, great location.
Given that many of these images appeared in the early 1960's in the pages of French and British Vogue, they were certainly shocking for their time. Now, many imitators later, we are not as shocked. High fashion's favorite bad boy never lost sight of his mission: sell the clothes.
Last night, West Hollywood took to the streets to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and that Proposition 8 was all but finished. Photographer Iris Schneider was there too.
On Memorial Day I spent some time absorbing the enormity of the world's struggles and conflicts at the War/Photography exhibit, over 170 images dating from 1887 to the present. As with many of the exhibits at the Annenberg Space for Photography, there was too much of a good thing, with the curators choosing to go wide rather than deep.
At LACMA on Thursday night, a packed and very excited audience, some dressed in 80's garb, watched a screening of "Valley Girl" as the the museum's Film Independent program celebrated the movie's 30th anniversary. "This film was well-researched and shot in Los Angeles. It is about our cultural history," director Martha Coolidge told the crowd.
He was greeting people good naturedly on Barrington Avenue just south of Sunset on Friday. The only name he wanted to give was Giant Robot.
After careers as a gallery owner, graphic designer and artist, he's entered another phase of his life: educating the public about the value of urban farming and quality food. He also will help curate the upcoming changes to downtown's Grand Central Market.
It's been hard to ignore the baggage that comes with aging. Good thing that a new play is more about the friendships, loyalties, yearnings and fears that accompany us on life's journey.
"Each movie is like a chapter in a book about contemporary human life." says the director. "The work will never be finished, but it will provide a trace of life over the last 40 or 50 years."
Redcat and NYC's Elevator Repair Service bring every word of "The Great Gatsby" to the LA stage. After it was over, I couldn't wait to get home and finish the novel.
Whoever still doubts the seriousness of our changing climate, our melting polar ice caps and our own role in climate change, should sit down and watch this movie.
After serving 26 years, 5 months and 4 days in prison, Bruce Lisker takes the rights he has earned as a now-free U.S. citizen very seriously. Prop. 34, which would eliminate the death penalty in California, is one battle that he has a stake in.
Arnon Goldfinger made 'The Flat' while cleaning out his grandmother's flat in Israel, where she emigrated from Nazi Germany with secrets that took many years to reveal themselves. What do we save and what do we throw away? What do we share and what do we hide?
Anxious to get away from a day of bad news, I retreated to that shrine of wealth and Hollywood make-believe, the Beverly Hills Hotel. I got to stay there in the late 70's when I was sent across the country by Rolling Stone to interview Dustin Hoffman when "Kramer vs. Kramer" was about to open. After I moved to LA, it helped me adapt to my new city.
In Glassell Park during last weekend's Second Saturday Gallery Night in Northeast LA. Photos by Iris Schneider.
As September approached, Bruce Lisker was getting anxious. His civil suit--filed against the LAPD and postponed many times over the three years since he was released from prison and exonerated of the crime of murdering his mother--was set to begin on September 25. Since his release he has tried to create a life that would make up for the 26 years lost to a wrongful prison sentence. That life includes renewing his marriage vows with Kara, in front of friends and "chosen family."
Marissa Roth's show of photographs of women in war zones from Cambodia, Vietnam, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere opens Aug. 16 at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. "I've probably spent close to $200,000 on the project. I could have given myself a masters and a doctorate...but I thought 'I just have to do this, no matter what it costs.'"
Shawn Whitehead plays piano for change in the courtyard of the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. His friend Fred Banks watches. The latest in Iris Schneider's series of Night Vision photographs from around the city.
If the question is "Who Shot Rock and Roll," the answer according to the new show at the Annenberg Space for Photography would have to be "Everybody." The show is a rambling exhibition of 166 images, some iconic and many obscure, documenting rock and roll and and along with it a slice of cultural history.
Benjamin Millepied and Amanda Wells dance in a free performance for his LA Dance Project last night at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The crowd included actress Natalie Portman.
The Costume Council saluted 100 years of Western Costume Co. at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Moses (Ned Albright) chatted with Miwa Kosuga in the museum's atrium after the program.
Dancers enjoy the music on Saturday at the Getty Center's "Saturdays Off the 405" concert series. Photograph by Iris Schneider.
The aftermath of a teenage party over the weekend in the Silver Lake hills.
It's debatable which came first, the insatiable desire to document the famous or the need for the masses to see endless images of celebrities caught acting like normal people. But the Internet, the money to be made and the ease of picture-taking technology have changed everything. Thus a panel discussion at the Getty in conjunction with the exhibit, "Portraits of Renown," celebrity portraits dating back to the 1800s.
Carol Wells began collecting political posters on a 1981 trip to Nicaragua. She has amassed an impressive collection of works that chronicle labor and political movements filtered through the prism of art and activism. "Posters are a very efficient and powerful way of teaching history," she says.
The line on Saturday night for the 24-hour screening of "The Clock" at LACMA.
On the latest start date for Bruce Lisker's civil trial over being imprisoned for 26 years, he was at work at Eque Archival Film Restoration in Larchmont, running to Kodak's Hollywood lab and Universal Studios delivering and picking up films — and staying positive.
In the projection room tonight at the Million Dollar Theater, for Stanley Kubrick's "Paths of Glory," with projectionist Tom Ruff.
When avant-garde choreographer Pina Bausch died suddenly in 2009, filmmaker Wim Wenders not only mourned his close friend. The movie they were to begin in two days almost died as well. "Pina" opens Friday in Los Angeles
Occupy protesters demonstrate at the end of the Rose Parade through Pasadena.
The City of Los Angeles float turns onto Fair Oaks Avenue moving into position for Monday's Rose Parade in Pasadena.
My photographs from the clean-up scene at Occupy L.A. this morning.
Riddle from the art world: Who was part huckster, part experimental trailblazer and part social commentator, lampooning society's adoration of celebrity, but longing to be one at the same time? Go to MOCA and see.
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich speaking on Saturday at Occupy Los Angeles, outside City Hall.
Crew films an episode of "The Closer" on Fuller Avenue near Beverly Boulevard. Photograph by Iris Schneider.
At 2nd Street and Beaudry, just west of the Harbor Freeway from Downtown. Second in the Night Vision series.
Iris Schneider has followed Bruce Lisker for LA Observed since his release from prison two years ago. This weekend, she covered the wedding.
New series of photos on L.A. at night, starting on Union Avenue near 12th Street in Pico-Union.
In my opinion, she deserves not only a museum, but her own special Oscar for trying so hard to preserve Hollywood's history.
I was at the Convention Center this past Thursday when my Guatemalan friend became a citizen after 22 years in the U.S.
I saw it out of the corner of my eye while driving home on Sunset. While I knew what it meant, I chose to ignore it.
Bruce Lisker was mostly excited to return to the courthouse where he was wrongly convicted of killing his mother and sent to prison. But there were surreal moments.
Like their older sisters, the Junior Derby Dolls [ages 8-17] "are a do-it-yourself, volunteer-driven roller derby league trained and run by members of the L.A. Derby Dolls."
After 26 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Bruce Lisker added a new first on Tuesday. He voted. Plus he's engaged.
"Los Angeles Plays Itself," a three hour film that is a virtual tutorial on how Los Angeles is portrayed in the movies, screened this weekend at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. Director Thom Anderson was there.
After taking the call that the state wants to send him back to prison, Bruce Lisker says "I just need to stay focused on the tasks ahead: school, love, life and staying in a spiritually and emotionally healthy place."
I dozed off during the movie and woke up wondering: who has dreams like that?
Julian Schnabel and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch seem to have re-opened the old debate: what is art, exactly?
Fifth part of a series following Bruce Lisker as he readjusts to life in L.A. after 25 years in prison.
This week, several of the brightest lights of the photography world turned out to honor the still image.
For those of you who got shut out of tickets for Ira Glass at UCLA this weekend, take heart. Storytellers abound in Los Angeles.
On a rainy morning in San Pedro, Bruce Lisker was in a reflective mood. He had come to Point Fermin, the spot where his parents' ashes had been scattered, and was talking about the adjustment to his new life. Now that he has been free almost 6 months, and can't get a job, he admits "I'm feeling the loss."
Nearly four months after his release from prison, Bruce Lisker leaves North Hollywood and moves in with his girlfriend in Marina del Rey.
I caught a little sneak preview of tonight's Beyond Drag film festival, being held at Downtown Independent Theatre.
After a tough year financially, the Museum of Contemporary Art put on a gala party to celebrate with 1,000 of its closest friends.
A carwash worker asked Lisker if he had won the lottery. He smiled. "Yeah, something like that."
After 26 years in jail, shopping at Target in the Valley means freedom.
In designing a new apartment building for the Skid Row Housing Trust, architect Michael Maltzan decided not to let "freeway adjacent" become a bad thing.
When you see white people toting their lawn chairs to MacArthur Park at dusk and settling in with Hollywood Bowl-worthy picnics, you know things have changed.
USC's marching band, a card trick and cupcakes helped Los Angeles' beloved landmark celebrate a birthday.
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