John Humble: Pico Boulevard An Online Exhibition
“Pico Boulevard begins in Santa Monica between two luxury beachfront hotels and ends at the Coca-Cola bottling plant at Central Avenue in downtown L.A. Traveling east on Pico Boulevard takes you through the Japanese and Iranian neighborhoods of West Los Angeles to the wealthy, predominantly white neighborhood of Rancho Park. Passing Fox Studios and the Hillcrest Country Club, Pico continues through the upscale business and entertainment center of Century City, the Jewish and Russian neighborhoods of South Robertson, the largely African American and Latino Mid-City District, and Koreatown. It then passes through the mostly lower-income area of recent Central American immigrants in the Pico-Union district and finally, to the crowded commotion of the Garment District in downtown Los Angeles. In short, Pico Boulevard is a veritable microcosm of Los Angeles.” — John Humble
Brought up in a military family, John Humble spent his childhood moving around the country from one military base to another. He was drafted during the Vietnam War and then became a photojournalist for the Washington Post before pursuing a graduate degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. His itinerant nature continued when he traveled the world in the early 1970s, going from Europe to the Middle East, then to Africa and Asia in his Volkswagen van. However, since the summer of 1974, Humble has lived in one place: Los Angeles. In 1979, he acquired a 4x5 view camera and began to photograph the Los Angeles that he perceived every day — a Los Angeles that tourists seldom see and locals rarely notice. John Humble’s large-scale photographs have been exhibited and collected since the 1970s, and are included in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The LA County Museum of Art; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.