The City of Angels

“The City of Angels” explores the bond of humanity and our environment by pushing the boundaries of creative mediums and perspectives of Brandon Boyd, Brian Bowen Smith, and Stephen Vanasco. Through conscious interpretations of familiarity and longing, this immersive story bridges our connection between photographer, subject, and interplays with our world.

This series is on view at Leica Gallery Los Angeles until April 26, 2021. All prints are available for sale. Please contact Leica Gallery Los Angeles at (424) 777-0341 for more information.

“As with most of my creative pursuits, I rarely understand precisely what I’m attempting to accomplish beyond the mere act of letting go into the process. That is until after the impulse has subsided and what was being chased reveals itself in its realized form. I have found that the attempt to give a name to a song or to a painting before it is finished has a tendency to limit and even thwart the potential of what it could very well become, so I have kind of surrender to that process and allowed for it to tell me what it wants to be called once it is nearing its apex. While painting and songwriting during these strangest of times I have found that the connective thread or ‘Vinculum’ as it were, is the part of my consciousness, the observer, that arrives last in the process. Like an explorer who happens upon an as yet unseen valley and has the dubious distinction of drawing a map of it and henceforth naming it, the Eye at the center of these paintings is just that. The observer witnessing a process that was set in motion long before he arrived and he catches himself almost unwittingly as one of the last pieces of that connective tissue.” – Brandon Boyd

  1. Tell us about “Vinculum” and why you chose to show this body of work.
    The pieces being shown at Leica Gallery are part of a larger body of work that I did throughout 2020 during our strange lockdown experience that we had. I am always painting and writing music but the normal everyday impetus to do so was coupled with a deep uncertainty around what was happening in our shared world and the COVID pandemic. My thrust to paint and to be creative had a tinge of deep existential anxiety in that nobody knew (or knows) how or when this thing was going to subside. Painting, for me, was now an even more important way to let the air out of my emotional/spiritual balloon. One of the realizations that have slowly emerged through my creative process during these strange times is an evolving understanding of how interconnected we are here in this place. And there are larger connective threads, or ‘Vinculum’ if you will, that make themselves observable to those willing and or curious to spot them. Hence the ever-present observer’s eye amongst the chaotic lines and threads in these paintings.
  2. Out of all of your images, which one speaks to you the most?
    I don’t have a most preferred or favorite of these images. They all kind of spill forth somewhat simultaneously so they all kind of speak to the same recognition of my unconscious patterns in creativity.
  3. What camera equipment did you use to make these images?
    I used no camera equipment to make these images as they are painted on canvas, but this being a photography blog, I will say that I love using my Leica Q2 to shoot on a very regular basis. The images captured undoubtedly have an effect on my larger creative process. I don’t discriminate as far as the what’s and how’s and when’s of my process, anything is fair game and that includes (in no small way) capturing life in tiny moments of inspiration through the lens of my camera.
  4. What photographers inspire you?
    So many photographers have and continue to inspire me! Brian Bowen-Smith is one of them for sure. He’s the first photographer Incubus ever brought out on tour so he had a lot to do with our band’s aesthetic in the early 2000s. We traveled from one side of the planet to the other a couple of times over with Brian and made some amazing memories. Some other photographers that have been impactful to me over the years are as well people that have come aboard the Incubus mothership, including Brantley Gutierrez, Julian Schratter, Olaf Heine, and Andy Keilen. I’ve always loved and admired the work of Diane Arbus, Helmut Newton, Tim Walker, Jimmy Nelson, Inez & Vinoodh, and Peter Beard, among many others. Photography is such a powerful medium and one that continually inspires me!

    View Brandon’s Work
    To learn more about Brandon, follow him on Instagram at @BrandonBoyd.




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“Dancing with your Angel connects the body and mind to depict the subconscious in an interpretive visual series, void of color, detail, and identity. When one of these angels appears, I see floating bodies of lights with minimal details. Every once in a while, I will see a face and can recognize that my angels are endearing and powerful women.” – Brian Bowen Smith

  1. Tell us about “Dancing with your Angel”, and why you chose to show this body of work.
    Dancing with your Angel started out as an experiment to see what would happen when women move for long periods of time with just two hot lights to see what would come of it. I had no idea that angels were going to appear, but it was clear when I saw these images that that’s exactly what it was. Artistically, it’s one of my favorite series of shoots I’ve ever done.
  2. What was your curation process like? What narrative do you want to convey with your series?
    My curation process was simple. I shot in complete darkness with two modeling lights a little bit behind the subject, pointing at me on a black background and have them move in certain ways sort of like a dance. Then, I would move my camera at the same time steadily to create streaks of light and shapes.
  3. Out of all of your images, which one speaks to you the most?
    It’s impossible to pick a favorite as each image portrayed such a beautiful motion of light and angel that it’s just too hard.
  4. What camera equipment did you use to make these images?
    To make these portraits, I used the Leica M10 Monochrom.
  5. What photographers inspire you?
    It’s hard to say what photographers I like, there are too many in the world that inspires me and makes me want to shoot. I can name the classics, but it’s just too easy I choose to just continue to look for inspiration and everyone’s work around the world.

    View Brian’s Work

    To learn more about Brandon, follow him on Instagram at @BrianBowenSmith, or visit his website here.












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Altitude :: Los Angeles is an ongoing chapter in my aerial photography body of work. Growing up in L.A. I thought I had seen most of what she had to offer. That all changed when I went up in my first helicopter flight in 2014 to document the City of Angels I was hooked immediately. The escape and isolation of being 1,500 ft up over such a vast and beautiful place with my camera made me want to see more. Over the years, I have seen the change of the cityscape along with nature demonstrating her changing of the seasons. Allowing me opportunities to take in moments I would have never seen if I stayed put on the ground. The constant idea of interpreting a city you think you know from above continues to fascinate me as she continues to show me more.” – Stephen Vanasco

  1. Tell us about “Altitude :: Los Angeles”, and why you chose to show this body of work?
    I have been building an aerial body of work in Los Angeles for about 7 years now. This project allows me to constantly keep progressing with it. With the ever-changing and evolving of cityscape set inside this vast landscape, I continually find new perspectives to make photos of. There are people who can live in their cities their whole lives and know it like the back of their hands but a photo made from a helicopter 2,000 feet above their city allows for a whole new perspective.
  2. What was your curation process like? What narrative do you want to convey with your series?
    I curated the photos due to showcasing a variety of areas as well as landmarks. A balance of color and monochrome images that sequenced together allows the viewer to flow through the city when viewing them. The narrative I wanted to show with these photos is how expansive L.A. is. How when balanced with nature can present herself in a new light. To demonstrate the intricacies she beholds. As well as giving the opportunity for the viewer to escape above which is why I decided to print these at sizes I have never done before. All are done at 40 x 60 inches with a final piece being 72 x 48. Definitely the largest prints I have ever made.
  3. Out of all of your images, which one speaks to you the most?
    I would say the “Observe” image I made of the Griffith Observatory with the Hollywood sign in the background. I was able to get up in a helicopter on a foggy morning which can be rare in Los Angeles. I love how the fog blanketed everything around it allowing for only the Observatory and the Sign to be visible. Masking any contemporary structures and blanketing everything else allowing for you to focus on these two iconic structures.
  4. What camera equipment did you use to make these images?
    I mainly used my Leica S – 007 system. When in L.A. doing these aerial flights I prefer to use the medium format system to be able to translate scale and depth in my work. I also had used the Monochrom 246 and even the Minilux which is a 35mm point and shoot. Proving the test time of time Leica cameras hold up to.
  5. What photographers inspire you?
    I have a variety of people that inspire me. Fred Lyon, Ralph Gibson, Ari Marcopulous, Mike Blabac, Larry Clark to name a few. I believe it is good to find a variety of inspirations that spark a creative push within yourself.

    View Stephen’s Work

    To learn more about Stephen, follow him on Instagram at @StephenVanasco, or visit his website here.








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“The City of Angels” explores the bond of humanity and our environment by pushing the…
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