LA by Evan Tetreault

‘Being in nature, especially when creating, is necessary medicine for me.’ Here, the photographer shares his dream-like vision of LA – from sunrise hikes to taking the scenic route (not the freeway) out of the city.

Making The Move

Photography became a passion for me as soon as I discovered it, around 12 or 13 years old. Being able to go on walks, snapping away, then processing and printing the photos became an escape and a release. I was hooked. I went to a college that focused on film and photography, so naturally a lot of students head to LA after school. I’ve been here almost nine years now, and I’m happy I made the move.

When I was about 10 years old, I began developing what’s known as ‘visual snow’, a screen of haze between my eyes and what I see. When I look at computers or phones, this goes away almost entirely. It’s been a bit of a gift and a curse, but it has led me to edit my photos in the way that I see the world.

In Dreams

I’m a dreamer. I like to drift and make up stories about the places and things that I pass, romanticising everything. Most of my inspiration comes from music and memory. Projects and ideas come to me after I shoot for a while and look back on the work. From there, I piece together themes and concepts.. I cherish dawn and dusk. Early morning walks, sunset ‘photo drives’, people watching, all inspire me daily.

I love the idea of magical realism and photographing subject matter that is ‘normal’ and/or ‘everyday’ with a subtle, otherworldly twist. It all comes back to being a dreamer, walking and driving around, looking into people’s house windows at dusk and imagining what’s going on in there. I fill in the blanks with fantasy, and that’s what I try to convey.

Magic Hours

LA is unique in how eclectic the landscape can be. Each neighbourhood can feel like a different world, which makes it endlessly interesting. That, combined with the architecture, vintage cars and pollution-induced haze, keeps me busy.

The city does have its seasons, contrary to what most people think. Because it’s in the desert, the summers can be brutally hot from midday until sunset. I stick to my early-morning and sunset walks, and get out of town as much as I can.

I’m lucky to live in a part of town surrounded by nature, on the east-side, up in the hills. The weather makes it easy to always take a step outside, feel the sun and raise my baseline of happiness. My favourite parts of town are all the nooks and crannies in the Hills, Topanga Canyon and Malibu.

My tips for an LA visit? Get lost in the little pockets of the city that are off the beaten path… the hilly parts of Echo Park, Mount Washington and Beachwood Canyon. Then head west to Topanga Canyon (go the scenic way, no freeways) and take your time making your way down and further west to Malibu.

Scenic Routes

New England is where I’m from. That’s where I began taking photographs and at this point I love coming back there and feeling nostalgic, driving around to places that have meaning to me and documenting them in different stages of my life.

Nature grounds me, brings me back to reality when I’m getting in my head too much. I’m naturally anxious, overly vigilant and almost always on the brink of ‘fight-or-flight’ mode. Being in nature, especially while creating, is necessary medicine for me. It gives me perspective and inspires me to slow down, remember what’s really important.

I feel connected to nature often. Just this morning, walking my usual loop to a trail behind my house; coming up at the crest of a hill, I was hit with the sun, closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and continued on my way. These small moments are everything to me.

Photography by Evan Tetreault

Follow Evan’s wild-inspired life @evantetreault