Dear Readers,

My love of photography began in 2004 on a winter's night in Los Angeles. I was looking for something to do and ended up heading over to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A retrospective of Diane Arbus had just opened at the museum.  

I'd never heard of Arbus, nor seen any of her work, but I became immediately enthralled by her 180 images. Arbus' “contemporary anthropology” – portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle-class families, transvestites, people on the street, zealots, eccentrics and celebrities were on display along with her working method and intellectual influences revealed through the myriad contact sheets, cameras, letters, notebooks and books from her personal library.

It was an amazing exhibit, and I just fell in love with her work. It has left a lasting impression on me to this day. It was only at the end of the exhibit that I discovered Arbus had committed suicide.

Photography as an artistic medium can mean so many different things to people. For me, it has always been about the historic context of the images. The daily lives of ordinary people, events or places that are captured in a moment of time before or during my own existence.   

During the last year, I've seen some amazing displays of work that capture the essence of my statement including Bill Owens' Suburbia at MOCA; Catherine Opie at the Orange County Museum of Art; Scene of the Crime: photo by Weegee at The Getty; Dennis Hopper at The Ace Gallery; Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature at The Getty; and Antiquity and Photography at The Getty Villa. All of them were spectacular in their own right, and all of them took place in Southern California at various times of the year.

Over the summer, I had been thinking of doing something a little different with Campus Circle . I thought I would commit an issue to photography with very little editorial. It would be something different for an alternative newspaper. I had not seen this done before. I was just waiting for the right time.

This issue of Campus Circle represents that time. There are currently an array of photographic exhibitions going on in Los Angeles simultaneously that should not be missed. These exhibitions include: Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection at The Getty; Public Faces/Private Spaces: Recent Acquisitions at The Getty; The Collectible Moment: Photographs in the Norton Simon Museum ; Ansel Adams at Manzanar at the Japanese American National Museum; and Yosemite: Art of an American Icon at The Autry National Center.

Inside this issue you will find a taste of these museum events, along with a variety of images Campus Circle staff members have taken (including myself).

Recently, I spent some time with director Joe Carnahan in Lake Tahoe. Carnahan had written and directed the acclaimed film, Narc , and returns in 2007 with a new film, Smokin' Aces .

Carnahan was extremely animated, a walking encyclopedia of film and a down to earth guy. I tried to capture Joe's animation in a series of images I took while he was being interviewed.

Last week, I was lucky enough to photograph the historic re-opening event for the Griffith Observatory. This modern day castle rests high in the hilltops surveying the cosmopolitan kingdom of Los Angeles. The Observatory has been closed for almost five years, undergoing a $93 million renovation.

Now featuring an additional 40,000 square feet of public space that houses exhibits with the latest NASA information and technology, as well as, a state of the art theater (Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon), the Observatory should be a must-visit for students, friends and family members alike.

Enjoy the issue!

Sean Bello


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