Elisabeth, Sunset Boulevard and North Poinsettia, from the series On Hollywood, 2010.
Lise Sarfati (French, born Algeria 1958)
C-print, 15 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer, 2019.70.16.

Street photography came into existence nearly two centuries ago, alongside the invention of some of the earliest cameras. Since then, the genre has evolved in style, scope, and technique due largely to technological advancements, most notably the portable 35mm camera and, today, the ubiquitous smartphone. Despite its name, street photography does not necessitate the street as a backdrop or people as the subject. Closely related to documentary photography, the genre encompasses a spectrum of compelling images — usually taken in public spaces — that reveal something about the subject or stir emotion in the viewer.

This photograph is part of French photographer Lise Sarfati’s series “On Hollywood,” which explores the lure and harsh realities of the city — especially for young women. Sarfati used her last rolls of Kodachrome 64 (the same film used for 1940s Hollywood movies) for this project. Sarfati notes:

"There are a lot of women who come to Hollywood to be famous and they cannot of course [all] become famous. They have to deal with their life and their jobs. . . . The idea was to take these women and to put them in the landscape of Hollywood, which was very poor, dirty . . . a shabby boulevard, which I like. . . . They are vulnerable because they have to resist, and it’s a difficult life in a way, but still they are very strong."

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