You know, I just can't walk past a mirror without taking a self portrait.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Between The Holidays 2011 - Images From Around the House.

Seems every December lately, I am house bound for one reason or another. Last year I not only had a knee injury but it also rained for 2 weeks straight. At that time I discovered the Hipstamatic App for the iPhone. I used it to shoot an extensive series of images documenting where and how I live. In addition to my regular photography I have shot over 4K Hipstamatic images in the past year.
So, this year I found myself in a similar situation, so again I decided to document my house (mostly in color this time).

Rainy Window

House Plant

Watermelon of Sorts

3 Pears in a Bowl


Yellow Wall


Travel Section of My Library

Field Glasses


Holiday Decor 1

Holiday Decor 2



As always all images are copyright Peter Politanoff (RedStarImage), and all restrictions apply.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shaping with Mike Geib; Custom Made Surfboards

One of the best kept secrets in Southbay surfing, is shaper Mike Geib. Mike shaped his first board when he was 18 and some 10,000+ plus boards later, he is still going strong. Now on more or less part time basis. Once the shaper for Dewey Weber, he now shapes for Tyler Surfboards. Although primarily shaping long boards for Tyler, Mike does shape all sizes on a commission basis. 
I took the liberty of dropping in on Mike as he was shaping a "double step" long board for Tyler.
It usually take 3 - 4 hours to shape a board, then needs to be painted and glassed. Mike doesn't glass his own boards, he says it would be a disaster.
The shaping room in itself is unremarkable and austere. Fluorescent tubes hung in such a fashion as to illuminate just the board and accent the shape of the rails. Small and cramped, just enough space to move around the foam blank being carved.

The curse of a shaper, perpetually bandaged fingers.

A look at some of the finished product, a short board sporting Mike's logo.

Two different fin box constructions.

Another logo.

It is always good to put a face, and a wet suit on the subject. Here is Mike waxing his one of his personal favorite boards. Mike usually surfs in Manhattan Beach, south side of the pier.

He calls it 'the pilgrim', makes me think of John Wayne. 

See you out there Mike!

As always, all images are copyright Peter Politanoff ( and all International restrictions apply.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Charles Bukowski - In Search of Henry Chinaski

Charles Bukowski died on March 9, 1994, but his alter-ego Henry Chinaski lives on in his literature. Although, in 1986 Time called him a “laureate of American lowlife”, Bukowski never won the Pulitzer Prize nor was he a Nobel Laureate. He did write about his home city of Los Angeles almost exclusively.
In the ever changing landscape of Los Angeles, some of Bukowski’s/Chinaski’s haunts still survive, and some have disappeared (victims of gentrification, urban redevelopment, or just plain neglect). Los Angeles itself is a much different place , the Hollywood dives are now trendy hangouts. Downtown LA, the manufacturing area in particular is being re-developed into residential lofts, and even Skid Row is getting a gradual facelift!

In 1952, Bukowski started working for the US Post Office, first as a carrier, then as a clerk and sorter. He worked at the Terminal annex Post Office, until 1970, when he resigned to pursue a full time writing career.

A view of The LA skyline from the Post Office

Much of Bukowski’s earlier works were written when he lived on De Longpre Avenue, East Hollywood. An interesting street not only filled with other Courtyard Apartments, but also Ukrainian Catholic Church.

These Courtyard Apartments across the street have been featured in several Hollywood Films.

Although Bukowski did spend a lot of time in bars, he apparently did a great deal of his drinking at home. His favorite liquor store, not far from his home, was Pink Elephant Liquors, on N. Western.

Musso & Franks was one of his favorite Hollywood hangouts,  the Original Spanish Kitchen and Norm’s were also frequented by Hank.

All that remains of The Original Spanish Kitchen is the sign, now considered a landmark.

Both Henry and hank liked the ponies, and santa Anita figured in strongly.

Bukowski liked to spend time at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, he was also known to take his girlfriends there.

He may have frequented many bars, but here are a few of note.
The Frolic Room has now become a hip and trendy hangout in Hollywood.

There are others in Hollywood, that claim he frequented there, but let us move downtown. The area that is known as Skid Row, which at times can still be dicey but has seen an amazing transformation.
5th and Main can still look rough. Here we can find the Rosslyn Hotel.

But, just one block away, Located in thew King Edward Hotel is the King Eddy Salon. Not much has changed here except perhaps the addition of the flat screen tv’s.

Sadly Craby Joes closed its doors 5 years ago. You can still see the outline of the old sign on the remaining store front. Dr Lee, looks over the intersection (labelled Bukowski Square by Larry Harnisch) with an approving smile.

In addition to the bars, he also frequented the following downtown.

The Grand Central Market,

Cole's French Dip, 

And, The Clifton Cafeteria.

All in all, downtown Los Angeles has changed significantly since Bukowski wrote about it, The alleys are no longer filled with garbage.

Yes there are still some SRO’s.

While other old Hotels have re-invented themselves as trendy hotels on Skid Row.

Union Stage has seen an resurgence!

The Royal Palms where he also lived for a while is now a Half-way House. Sort of ironic don’t you think.

Even McArthur Park has been given a new lease on life.

But when you contrast what has been there with what is replacing it. With the new skyline towering over the old, we certainly don’t want to lose anymore!

Finally. Bukowski’s final years were spent living in San Pedro (but that is another project). He is buried not far from there at Green Hill Memorial Park.

Notes: I have been working on this project for over 2 years. I originally developed the idea 5 years ago when I was working on a project that required a lot of filming in the Downtown area. In earnest started researching about 2 years ago and finishing it as I write these notes (going out this morning to grab a few more shots). The images have been shot with a variety of cameras. Leica M8, Canon 5D mkII, Canon 1DmkIII, iP4, with Leica, Zeiss and Canon lenses. The images here are only a small selection of what I have shot. The Downtown Los Angeles area is visually rich and full of history.
As always all text and images are ©Peter Politanoff (RedStarImage), and all appropriate International Restrictions apply. Please do not use or repost without proper attribution and photo credit.