Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

BOOKS on chandler's LA have become a kind of cottage industry. still, i'm enjoying a new book of photographs called "daylight noir: raymond chandler's imagined city." the book could be a companion volume to judith freeman's "the long embrace," which visited the dozens of SoCal locations in which the novelist lived with his elusive wife cissy, tho the aesthetic of "daylight noir" is starker and less personal

the author is catherine corman, daughter of roger "king of the Bs" corman, who i wrote about when she came up with an eccentric book about joseph cornell. here she matches her own black-and-white photography with very brief excerpts from chandler's novels. we get some obvious LA landmarks, past and present -- bullocks wilshire, musso and franks, etc -- as well as lonely hotels, lush private residences, a spooky pier. when i leave LA, this is the way i want to remember it.

"in chandler the hardboiled style became above all a way of seeing," jonathan lethem writes in a brief introduction, "not far from photography itself." in his progress across the city, marlowe become "a kind of camera, a ghost."

besides the book jacket, these photos -- some of which remind me of antonioni's films -- are from the book. i'll post my story on corman's cornell project as soon as the LAT fixes its web archive.

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