Public Transit Areas #6: Long Beach

Object Details


Public Transit Areas #6: Long Beach


Anthony Hernandez (American, born 1947)




Long Beach, California, United States (Place created)




Gelatin silver print


32.4 x 47.3 cm (12 3/4 x 18 5/8 in.)


© Anthony Hernandez

Credit Line:

Purchased in part with funds provided by the Photographs Council

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It is not an accident that vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines converge at a central point in this photograph, because Anthony Hernandez is deliberately playing with a visual cliché. In this picture the vanishing point is located to one side of a woman's head as she stands waiting for the bus, gazing rather impatiently in the direction from which it might arrive. A visual tension is created between the compositional diagonals, a vertical pole in the foreground, and the woman standing next to it. One can't help but notice the crisp details that surround her, like the signage of at least three banks.

This photograph is part of Anthony Hernandez's series, Public Transit Areas (1979-80), which focused on people waiting at bus stops in Los Angeles. The invasive, sensory elements of the city vie for attention with vulnerable looking individuals immersed in their own private worlds. Hernandez used relatively large photographic equipment--a five-by-seven-inch camera mounted on a tripod--to achieve sharp focus throughout his images. A consistent, formulaic approach to composition also heightens the visual tension. By centering his human subjects in the frame, the street's one-point perspective as it recedes into the distance is emphasized. Background details compete for attention because their specifics change from image to image, even as the placement of basic elements remains fixed.

Public Faces/Private Spaces: Recent Acquisitions (October 10, 2006 to February 4, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 10, 2006 to February 4, 2007