jeweled platypus


monday, may 09, 2011
Other people’s photos of places

I like making essays with Flickr galleries. Finding a set of photos on a theme is easy with the quality of work on Flickr, and it’s fun to write a little bit about an idea when you have that kind of visual structure to work with. Here are some galleries I’ve made since my last list of them a couple years ago.

Alien Los Angeles

After college I started watching a lot of Star Trek, which turns out to have been filmed mostly in the Los Angeles area, where I grew up. What does it feel like to watch imaginary characters stomp around familiar parks? Even stranger, how do the landscapes of Southern California manage to serve as alien planets for an audience around the world? I don’t know, but it’s interesting enough just to look more closely at some filming locations.

San Francisco’s Shoe Garden

I like this spot in Alamo Square Park, a nice example of public art and local character.

The Castle of Santa Barbara

Knapp’s Castle is another favorite semi-obscure local landmark, a photogenic ruined mansion in the mountains above Santa Barbara. It’s everyone’s secret to share, everyone’s excuse to go drive up into the mountains for the afternoon.

The Fanciest Gas Station

These are some detail views of another landmark ruined building near where I live, this one working as a physical reminder of how Santa Barbara’s rich oil fields helped fund our fancy architectural style.

Coal Oil Point Jail

A third ruined landmark in Santa Barbara County, slightly less glamorous — an unofficial collaborative art project within walking distance of UCSB.

Fountain, Mission, Reflection

Many people take the same postcard photo of the Santa Barbara Mission, a building that has been carefully (and sometimes imaginatively) restored every time it’s fallen apart over the past couple hundred years. I like the variations on the same shot.

Sidewalk Compasses

Hey look, a literal metaphor for directions and pathmaking! This might be a good place to explain that in 2010 I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to New York City, which was a great adventure, but this year I listened to Isla Vista calling me back home. I wake up to sunshine and ocean air and eucalyptus trees, and I work with my friends on something incredibly exciting, and we watch the prettiest sunsets and sunrises together.

comments (1)

Awesome work. Thanks for sharing!
Setu Garg on 5/9/2011 21:25:14

comments are off. for new comments, my email address is


I’m Britta Gustafson.

Popular posts

Fold a paper icosahedron

My handmade map of California

How the internet feels like a city

Blade Runner in San Francisco

Learning to see telephone poles

How UCSB joined ARPAnet

What is a book?

a little pixelly man, upside-down