Great piece in Tuesday's L.A. Times by Larry Harnisch about an unsung L.A. hero: Photographer C.C. Pierce, whose amazing shots of Los Angeles showcase our city as it grew from a sleepy, dusty 1800s village to a metropolis just a few years later.
The Huntington Library purchased Pierce's collection before he died. And thank goodness -- the collection is now prized by historians. Larry writes:
With each click of his camera shutter, Pierce captured a mesmerizing split second of history as Los Angeles changed before his eyes. His work is an unsurpassed visual record of the city's commercial blocks and street corner businesses; mansions and rose-covered cottages; parades and fiestas. It remains the Huntington's most heavily used collection.
"How amazing to be there in the 19th century, to stand on Bunker Hill and see to the San Gabriel Mountains, with the savannas of oaks and no structures or just some very small buildings," says Jennifer Watts, the curator of photographs at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.
Pierce's well-organized archive is so comprehensive that it is nearly impossible to pick up a book or magazine article on early Los Angeles without seeing one of his photos.
Pierce first moved to L.A. from Chicago in 1886 at the age of 25, and died in 1846 at the age of 84.