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Building Bridges: The Photo Lab LA Story


August 06, 2018

 What’s one thing that everyone needs?  I would say it’s community.  Of course, we all need some alone time to reflect and recharge, but then we want to be back among friends.  So, what does community actually mean these days?  Through social media and virtual “friending” we can convince ourselves that we are connected (we aren’t).  We can convince others that we live a different life or even have a different personality than the reality.  While this might keep us aware of each other, it doesn’t keep us engaged with each other.  It lacks the human touch.  It’s too easy to front, which makes real friends and real community that much more valuable.  (continued below)

Actual Face-To-Face Conversations

This was part of the motivation for us a year-and-a-half ago when we started an experiment we called Photo Lab LA.  We wanted to provide a platform to support the local photography community in Los Angeles.  We knew many photographers based in the area, and felt like it would be cool to have a way for everyone to be more connected, to get to know each other for support and inspiration.  So, we set up an interactive, open-house style format where people could come and go as they pleased.  We brought in our photo printer, some drinks, and started down this road to see where it would lead.  (continued below)

 Uploading Images

Printing Joy

Very quickly we could see something was happening.  As people showed up, they began to relax when they realized there was no sales pitch, no scramble for the latest and greatest whatever.  The point, if there was one, was to just chill.  Print out some of your photos, and meet some new folks.  There were no cliques.  Experienced photographers mingled with new shooters - everyone connected by art.  We had provided the seed and were receiving much love in return.  (continued below)

Sign Your Work

It was amazing to see how many of us let our countless of hours of creativity in pictures just sit in digital darkness on a hard drive somewhere.  When was the last time you really looked at your work from more than a week ago?  You’re not alone if you can’t remember.  By printing out photos, they became real again – tangible.  Open sharing became the thing at Photo Lab.  Sharing locations, lighting, techniques, and stories and stories and stories.  We were growing closer...  (continued below)

Now, after over 2000 prints, Photo Lab LA has become something that we all look forward to.  Somewhere we are comfortable, welcome, and inspired.  We share ideas, experiences, and friendships.  It has definitely become something, and I would say that something is community.  (continued below)

The latest installment of Photo Lab LA was held on July 31.  This time the venue was Upstairs at the Ace Hotel DTLA.  We also used the opportunity to host the SoCal release of our good friend, Travis Jensen’s first book titled Barbary Coast Now.  The good times were flowing and the creative vibes were in full effect for what was an epic summer evening in Downtown Los Angeles.  Enjoy the images of the night, but better yet, come on out to the next one and be part of the community!

Travis Jensen In The House

City Of Angels

A Great Night 

For more info on HEX Photo Lab LA click here.

For more info on Travis Jensen click here.