Artist Statement

This series of photographs of Los Angeles began in the early 1990s. Like Weegee's pictures, the photographs in 'Lets Get Lost' are made with a large format, hand held  4x5 camera, a Speed Graphic. All of the images are captured on Polaroid film, a medium that is no longer manufactured. Thus, each image is completely unique.


The photographs are an homage to the Los Angeles that I remember as a child. It was the city that my mother came to from Minnesota at age 17 in 1941 to become a starlet at RKO Studios. It was the same Los Angeles that my grandfather, the legendary songwriter Jimmy McHugh, came to with lyricist Dorothy Fields in 1929-30 to write music for the motion pictures. Along with  "Let's Get Lost", he composed many other great American Standards like "I'm in the Mood for Love," "On the Sunny Side of the Street." And "I Can't Give You anything But Love, Baby!"


Much of their city is lost or unseen today, dwarfed by larger, newer structures, or hidden in neighborhoods that are now derelict; faded remnants of an earlier beauty. And a few of the most memorable places are simply gone, demolished!  In some cases where relics do still remain; such as the Mark Twain and the Hotel Gilbert, contemporary observations can be quite humorous.


The project has been an exercise in memory and time; I used to live with my mother on Holloway Drive, in the same building where Sal Mineo was found murdered. I went to St. Victor's Catholic School. I saw movies at the Culver Theater, where they always showed a double feature and a cartoon. We owned a brand new black 1954 Ford Coup. It's a world disappeared; but sometimes, around twilight, my camera seems to find it again, like the soft trumpet sounds of Chet Baker's "Let's Get Lost."


- Jim McHugh, November 2009