Who are you (brief bio) and why do you take pictures?
My name is Scott Hurst, I’m a guy with a boring job that really loves photography. Most people in my day to day existence have no idea what I do and I like it that way. I take pictures because for me it’s like walking around on LSD, looking at the world in a different and challenging way than what most people will ever experience, for me it’s kind of my natural aware and curious state that I’ve always been in.
Are you originally from LA? What parts of the city do you enjoy photographing the most and why?
I’m from a really small and impoverished town in Oklahoma. I’ve lived in lots of places, grew up in the midwest, been on the west coast since 1994 when I moved to Portland and moved to LA a decade ago. Almost every part of LA is interesting to me and I’ve photographed a lot of it. The way I see it I’ll never run out of material here, how could you? and the light is incredible most of the time, the golden evening light is my favorite, though not my favorite for photos. My favorite part of town currently and where I’ve spent all of my free time for about the last eight months is the City of Vernon which is the subject of a project I’ve been working on, (Population Zero or City of None) it’s a place of infinite interest for me, probably one of the grittiest places on earth, but with charm, haha.
What is your favorite film stock and why? Favorite camera?
I only shoot Kodak Ektar 100, whether 35mm or medium format, and before that only shot Kodak UC 100, before that Agfa Optima. I just love everything about Kodak, the history, the failures, the logo, you name it, it’s like the Coca-Cola of film, so American! Though I only like Mexican Coke, so…
My main cameras right now are a Leica M2 and a Leicaflex SL, both obviously 35mm, since my credit cards are maxed out from shooting medium format for so many years. Both cameras were given to me, just like my first camera, an AE-1 and I’m kind of obsessed with the traditional aspects of photography so this is part of it. Anyway, the M2 and SL are kind of polar opposites, they complement each other quite nicely. They are both totally mechanical, no frills machines where everything is manual, though the SL has a light meter that runs on an obsolete battery, but I’ve never bothered with that. The M2 has a Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 screwmount with M converter on it and the SL has a 50mm Summicron, sharp as a tack. Probably the cheapest way to shoot Leica glass!
Judging from the work we’ve seen, you seem particularly drawn to photographing the urban landscape. Can you tell us about what inspires you?
I’m inspired by all kinds of art, music, architecture, writing, and ideas. I’m inspired by a lot of photography too, I like color and black and white, traditional and avant-garde, you can learn from it all…
How do you view the current state of photography in Los Angeles?
I don’t know anything about the current state of photography in LA. I’m a solitary photographer and don’t have a lot of free time to find out what’s going on. I do get excited when I run into someone with a film camera on the streets though, especially if like me they are off in their own world doing their own thing. I like to have a little chat and then get back to it. Hope to see you out there.