Classic Photographs Los Angeles returns to Bergamot Station

It took three Sundays of people-watching for photographer Max Yavno to capture this 1949 photo of Muscle Beach.
©Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents | Courtesy of Dawson Gallery

By Christina Campodonico

The wonderful thing about photo-sharing platforms like Instagram is that the world of vintage photography is at your fingertips. But what if you could have that same experience IRL?

That’s where showcases like Classic Photographs Los Angeles come in. Now in its 10th year, the intimate boutique art fair that splintered off from Photo L.A. years ago brings together galleries from across North America for three days at Bergamot Station’s ROSEGALLERY. Visitors can peruse avant-garde prints from Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery, or go back in time with Etherton Gallery’s images from the past. A stunning suite of black-and-white prints by photography legends such as Danny Lyon, Garry Winogrand and Bruce Davidson offer a window into American life and car culture during the late ’50s and mid-’60s. A 1964 shot of a man with a bandaged nose cruising along the Sunset Strip in a convertible speaks to a wilder, less-inhibited Los Angeles.

Locals may especially appreciate a photograph taken in 1949 by L.A. “social documentarian” Max Yavno of a bustling Muscle Beach. (His most famous photo, it appeared in “The Los Angeles Book,” veteran L.A. journalist Lee Shippey’s almanac-like account of the city published in 1950.) Bodybuilders do acrobatic lifts and leaps through the air as sunbathers take in the show. The backdrop is a wonderful display of vintage ads for Coca-Cola and storefront advertising for classic treats such as jumbo malts and snow cones. It’s a marvelous carnival of American life and a reminder of our community’s vibrant past.

Classic Photography Los Angeles happens from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 6, 7 and 8) at ROSEGALLERY in Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave. (B-7), Santa Monica. Free admission. Visit classicphotographsla.com.

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