My L.A. in Four Locations is a running feature in which Angelenos share the story of their city through four specific places. This week, photographer Loretta Ayeroff pays homage to Raymond Chandler.

Los Angeles has had many poets, but none as influential as Raymond Chandler, the boozy oil company executive who walked away from his career to create a literary style of noir that lingers in today’s city: an essence of rain, corruption, slanted afternoon light, and hidden motives.

Fourth Street — “It was raining again the next morning, a slanting gray rain like a swung curtain of crystal beads. I got up feeling sluggish and tired and stood looking out of the windows, with a dark, harsh taste of Sternwoods still in my mouth. I was as empty of life as a scarecrow’s pockets. I went out to the kitchenette and drank two cups of black coffee. You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women.” — The Big Sleep

Third and Fairfax — “Real cities have something else, some individual bony structure under the muck. Los Angeles has Hollywood — and hates it. It ought to consider itself damn lucky. Without Hollywood it would be a mail order city. Everything in the catalogue you could get better somewhere else.” — The Little Sister

Pico and Gateway — “Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form inself on the edge of consciousness.” — The Big Sleep

Smithwood — “I went to the door and looked out. The cool night breeze was blowing peacefully down the hall. No excited neighbors hung out of doorways. A small gun had gone off and broken a pane of glass, but noises like that don’t mean much any more.” — The Big Sleep


Loretta Ayeroff has photographs in the permanent collections of The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Palm Springs Art Museum, and Syracuse University, among other venues. She is a Visiting Artist at LACMA, and has taught photography at UCLA Extension and Otis College of Art and Design, CE Dept.