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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™

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Annenberg Space for Photography

The Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City at the old Shubert Theater building. The address is 2000 Ave. of the Stars and it is just one block from the Westfield Mall. Parking is validated ($1 on the weekend and $3 during the week) in the underground parking lot which is accessed on Constellation Blvd.). After parking, take a series of escalators, or the elevator) up to street level and then an additional escalator and a bridge to get to the gallery. The gallery is free and is open Wednesday-Sunday from 11 am-6 pm.

When we arrived, we were greeted warmly by the staff and ten started looking at and discussing the beautiful photographs. The Annenberg Space is dedicated to photographs that illicit deep emotion. There will be three exhibits each year and the current exhibit, Extreme Exposure, will run until April 17, 2011.

In addition to showcasing the photographs, the gallery also displays the photos in a moving video that is shown in the center room of the gallery. It is a large room filled with cushioned seating and there are 2 very large screens. Madison and Logan loved experiencing the photos this way, with the photos set to music. We chose to do this part last and I am glad we did because it allowed them to recall the photos we had just seen and they enjoyed pointing them out each time.

The current exhibit showcases highly skilled, talented artists who traveled to some very unusual places. There is a lecture series at the Annenberg that features all of the exhibit’s photographers for several Thursday nights in a row to discuss their work and the meaning behind it. The lecture series for this current exhibit is past now but if you check the website you can plan on going to the series that will showcase the talents of the next exhibit’s artists.

Another feature of the Annenberg Space is an awesome tablet type computer table. This table gives the public another way to interact with the exhibit. You can pick on of the photos on display, make it larger, move it around and learn more about the subject. The kids had a blast being able to enlarge and turn around all of the photos they were seeing. There is a similar table at the CA Science Center’s Ecosystem exhibit and we loved it there too.

As for the photos, there were four photographers featured in Extreme Exposure. Clyde Butcher is an amazing photographer on display here who uses large format cameras (one of which is in the gallery that took my breath away) to show the alligator-infested waters of the Everglades. One of my favorites of his was of these unusual plants and flowers that I had never seen before that only grow in that part of the world. Next to see at the exhibit was work done by a husband and wife team: Donna and Stephen O’Meara. They specialize in raising awareness of volcanic eruptions around the world. Logan loved seeing the lava from a volcano in Hawaii falling into the ocean and the steam rising from the water. To think about these talented artists getting so close to the extreme temperatures is awe inspiring. We also loved Michael Nichols work. He is called the Indiana Jones of Photography and by looking at his work on display we can see why. One of my kids favorite photographs of the whole gallery was Nichols’ close-up picture of a person hiding his face behind his hands and his hands are covered in bugs.

My personal favorite as well as my husband’s was Nichols’ photo of a 1,500 year old redwood tree that stands 300 feet tall. He took 84 images and stitched them together to make one print.   While many of us are accustomed to panoramic photos stitched together horizontally, this photo is vertical and offers something I have never seen before.   In the picture....You can see people hanging on the tree at various points, several hundred feet in the air.

The fourth photographer whose work is shown here is Paul Nicklen, who specializes in showing how global warming is affecting nature. He has been photographing polar regions, sometimes from an airplane and sometimes ice-diving for 15 years. He has these great pictures of a leopard seal trying to feed him a penguin chick. My kids really loved his self portrait with his eyelashes covered in snow. highly recommends the Annenberg Space for Photography for its accessibility with free admission and low-cost parking, interactivity, and amazing work to really inspire kids to learn more about the subject matter and photography itself.