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Old Posted May 24, 2015, 5:34 AM
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Beaudry Beaudry is offline
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I'm guessing most in the Noirish community are familiar with Leonard Nadel—postwar photographer for the LA Housing Authority, about whom Stefano Bloch writes "Nadel captured images of abject poverty and substandard housing reminiscent of New York City's Lower East Side at the turn of century. Nadel may not, however, be included on the list of great social reformist photographers such as Jacob Riis, because his images, perhaps unwittingly, inspired slum clearance, the displacement of communities, and the bad policy that led to some of the worst housing stock and concentrated poverty in the nation. Nevertheless, students and scholars may find more to discuss in the juxtaposition of his images, using Nadel's pictures as visual data and a view of post-War housing upheavals and short-lived triumphs in Los Angeles."

If you don't know of Nadel, at least you've seen his shots. For example, here is one of his, and note the lamentation that the image is not bigger.

Well, did you know that all Nadel's stuff is online, in high-res? Neither did I until I was poking around for Nadel and stumbled upon the lot, and they're...amazing. And in countless number. And all shots of stuff no tourist or architecture fan would ever shoot. (By way of example, I never thought I'd see a whole gaggle of pix of the 1950 Bunker Hill Recreation Center other than the one at LAPL...)

So here's the deal. You click here and you'll see the five categories: photographs of various subjects, undated, undated; photographs of Pueblo del Rio, 1947-1948, 1947-1948; photographs for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, 1948-1997, 1948-1997, undated; photographs of Community Redevelopment Agency projects, 1948-1998, 1948-1998, undated; photographs of Aliso Village, 1948-1994, bulk 1948-1949, Bulk, 1948-1949. Click one of those, and in that next window click "Display Item" and it'll open up a new window with a side scroll-bar. This is broken into subcategories. Scroll through the photos and enjoy! Don't forget to press the 1:1 button as that's the automatic enlargement to full size, but also use the magnifying glass to fly in. The down arrow button is download to desktop, which it does at about 1500 across, which is pretty nice. Also, it's a little funky to go back and forth between picture numbers and the envelope numbers at the end, which you'll want to do because the envelopes and sometimes note cards are scanned that have the addresses and names of subjects/places.

So, just to whet your appetite:

from photographs of various subjects/storefronts and people on streets, undated --


Looking west on 3rd from the upper Angels Flight, of course

Various subject/Richard Lewis:

16th & Central

Housing Authority for the City of Los Angeles/Tent Living on Rose Hill 1948:

This is where Amethyst ends at Paradise Drive, I believe

From Housing Authority/San Pedro/Channel Heights:

A lost Neutra wonderland...

From the Aliso Village Collection:

"Gosh I'm sure glad we live in these Garden City-style projects and not those old slums over there! There's certainly no way in our lifetime they'll become so unlivable it will be necessary to tear them down."


(Unless I miss my guess, Nadel climbed a gasometer to get this shot.)

From the Pueblo Del Rio/Exterior Views:

Looking east down E 55th across Holmes. The view is pretty similar today. A couple hundred feet to the north was the site of the grisly 1947 Vesta Belle Sapenter murder.

It is the folder called Photographs of Community Redevelopment Agency Projects that is complete madness, though. There's enough there to keep NLA in clover for a year. Here's one from Temple Area 1948-57/Views and housing, undated:


No explanatory envelope for this one, but I figure we have First on our right (out of frame), Temple on our left, and we're looking from Boylston.

And the Bunker Hill—it's just too much—wonderful the way he gets inside and shoots people's lives in the apartment houses we've looked at for so many years. And I've gone on long enough, and like I said, just tempting the palate. So I'll just throw one out there...when was the last time you saw a good photo of Sack Alley?

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