One day last summer, while average Californians were lazing poolside or flipping burgers on the backyard grill, Thomas Alleman was cruising a run-down section of Hollywood. He was searching for things to photograph. Alongside sat his toy Holga camera, with which he created “Sunshine and Noir,” a series that presented a decidedly unglamorous vision of Los Angeles.
On Fountain Avenue,Mr. Allemannoticed a billboard for the local clothing manufacturer American Apparel. That he took notice of the billboard is not itself surprising, because the company has drawn extensive news coverage — several adshave been banned in the United Kingdom— for featuring highly sexualized, young, real-girl models. Defying — or enraging — its critics, the company also maintains a page on its website featuring stills and animated gifs of many of the pictures.
Mr. Alleman’s attention was drawn to the four repeating photos in the advertisement, which perfectly matched four identical satellite dishes nearby. Unfortunately, he was busy and couldn’t return for a week, during which he fretted that the company would change the billboard before he could get back.
The article’s reader comments are interesting, too.