20.01.10 by Jeff

Matt Logue

Empty L.A. by photographer Matt Logue. I hesitate to label this work photography as it’s so heavily manipulated, I dunno what do you think? Interesting images either way.

empty la photographer photography matt logue

empty la photographer photography matt logue

empty la photographer photography matt logue

empty la photographer photography matt logue

empty la photographer photography matt logue

empty la photographer photography matt logue

empty la photographer photography matt logue

Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.

  • Why would it be less good when it is this manipulated?

    I really like some of them!

  • i didn’t say it was “less good”, i just think this moves away from photography and more towards image-making (the art category on this site)

  • Awesomeness :)

  • Oh that way, I’m sorry, haven’t read the word ‘label’.
    I agree with that.

  • It’s using photography as a launching point for a different kind of work. Perhaps that’s pedantic, but it’s true. We could argue a little about where the line between photography and this sort of thing (illustration?) is, but I can tell you this: Matt’s work is over that line.

  • how is it manipulated? am i being dumb?

  • Rouquine

    I like very much it and that surprises me!

  • quite good, although they dont seem quite as magical as something like Tokyo Nobody


  • @jon stanley austin – no people.

    I think they’re cool. The road and tower block-heavy ones are most effective. I don’t know LA, so I guess that’s why 3 and 6 don’t work for me.

  • oh yes!! how silly of me.

    I guess when you are from a small town in the uk the roads and streets quite often look like this.

  • I’m from LA and when I first saw these awhile ago, I was pretty convinced they were NOT photoshopped. I thought it may be possible in the wee hours of the morning to go wait on a freeway overpass for a couple hours to get a shot. Especially on holidays – driving on the 405 on Christmas morning can be very, very eerie. Anyway, apparently they ARE so that’s slightly disappointing but I still love them. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on my part that LA could be so desolate.

  • lapetitefaon

    Whoa, these are absolutely stunning.

  • It’s pretty difficult to get an oportunity to shot empty streets, even in a much less crowded city near me, like Coimbra or Leiria. Specially because it’s day light on these! But maybe it’s not impossible.
    I don’t know about this one’s story, but i’ve found out that Masataka Nakano took nearly 11 years to shot a couple of photos in the heart of Tokyo (http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/nakano/)!!!!!!! I personally like the Nakano’s pics more, because they really don’t look “forced” like these do. And so they are more romantic and post-apocaliptic instead of unbelievably fake, even if possible. The “graceful decay” effect.

    Anyway, there should be another name for it since they’re very popular and widely used in public media. I hate the “photoshoped” term… Still it reflects the reality of the technique… Maybe “montage” would sound better…

  • You wouldn’t have to wait until there’s no traffic. You’d simply have to take enough pictures from the same position so that you could erase the vehicles and people and use an underlying layer from a different exposure in which the people have shifted over.

    Either way I think it should still be labeled as photography since the image manipulation isn’t obvious and could have been done without manipulation.

  • These are excellent digital illustrations that happen to just use photographs as it’s only components.

    • Chris is exactly right, these are digital illustrations. Everyone should peep the Tokyo Nobody link as well.

  • Beautiful. If only, if only.

  • They have a similar feel to Atta Kim long exposure shots of NYC and LA

  • Sean E

    Manipulated images are interesting only because they are, in this case, images that COULD and DO exist, though they are hardly ever seen and even more so, hardly ever documented. Especially in the context of a major city such as LA, where the idea of emptiness is not only impossible to find, but also the exact opposite of the cities ideals. LA is all about the jam-packed lifestyle, and with the roadway congestion and often-occupied sidewalks, the city is never dull, or empty.

  • So much ‘photography’ these days is heavily post produced before anyone sees it – but regardless of whether it’s photography or not, the end result is great.

  • Nice Work!

  • lovely…..wish to see them on a big print scale….

  • Jayne

    Are they for sure Photoshopped, or are they reeeeally long exposures?
    It’s an old photography trick. An image was captured of Grand Central Station in New York with no people in it. There are always people there, and couldn’t clear it out, so a photographer set up the camera on a tripod with a super small aperture, and left the shutter open for hours. I’m not sure exactly how many hours, maybe even a day.
    I could see how each of these could be taken from locations where it would work to camp out and have a camera set up for that long.

    • SHAUN

      I think Jayne is right. You can purchase filters for a camera lens that dramatically reduce the amount of light coming in, combined with a small aperture setting and a bit of practice, you can make the busiest rooms, roads and etc appear totally empty. There is no reason to spend the hours/days photoshopping everything out of pictures like these when it is infinitely easier to do the trick while the shot is being taken.

      • she is right however this is not how it was done.

  • Jayne

    checking out his website (http://www.mlogue.com/photography/page.php?id=1) I notice he uses a medium format and film. This makes me almost certain that these images were captured with a long exposure vs photoshopped.

  • Charles

    In each picture if you look there’s a single person, too, so it differs from the ‘Tokyo Nobody’ collection with that little point.

    • Ari

      No matter how hard I look, I can’t see the single people per photo that you mention….

  • According to the LA Times article with Matt Logue – the images are digitally created. He explains how he did it in the article, stitching together tons of photos of the same spot (this is what I assumed).


  • They’re so amazing, I live in LA and wish I could be somewhere in LA where it’s deserted.

  • Great work, love the idea!
    Gotta go, there’s a fight going on in the thunderdome.

  • @Jayne. a realy realy long exposure seems doubtfull to me, seeing as you can see hard shadows in some of the pictures. wouldn’t those be moving also?

    im thinking Clif is right: taking multiple pictures from one point and erase the cars and people in upper layers to reveal the empty lower layers.

    this is photography. there’s not a lot of photo’s nowadays that aren’t manipulated in one way or the other.

    if you’re thinking about calling this image-making (or illustration) think about this: isn’t every photo a way of image-making? directing the angle, background, how somebody is looking or acting, the amount of light, and so on.

  • joesobel

    these days everything is integrated. mexicans come over here and we need to integrate. there is a message matt wants to get across and whether or not the spectator thinks its successful is up to that individual.

  • I would label them as Photo based or maybe Photo Illustration?

  • ellie

    i think this still works from an artistic standpoint, i didnt read all the comments, but the ones i did read said how its not art since it was “manipulated”, but isnt that what art is all about? manipulating the world around you to make something beautiful??

    sorry dont mean to ramble~! still think it looks cool nontheless!

  • ryan

    what is photography?

  • yawn ! this concept has been done so many times and so many times BETTER in the past … plus the whole “stitching together” thing kinda ruins it for me …. I think the two square ones are the least boring

    • please share links to examples of this done even better, i would love to see them. thanks.

  • ok , well i’ll take back using “better” as I know it’s a sensitive word for artists … I was given “Tokyo Nobody” a couple years ago as a gift and have never been so blown away : the rich colors ,showing the city in all 4 seasons,an enormous variety of locations/ times of day aswell as the “old school” 80’s feel …. i guess that series just has a certain authenticity/mysteriousness that I dont feel with these ….

    yeah , shit i knew my comment would piss someone off !

    • i really just wanted to see the images you were referring to. you are right about the rich colors, that series is amazing

  • Willem Betts

    Back in the day you could just use ultra super mega low film and 8 hour exposures to get pretty much the same effect… is that photography?

  • Wonderful images. His portfolio is a little inconsistent, but you’ve definitely pulled out his best works here.

    He could probably amp up the eerieness by choosing known, popular sites.

  • Pingback: The Empty City: Beautiful, Disturbing, or Both?()

  • Yeah, he could do Paris now, or even Rome, Barcelona, Hong Kong…. :D sure it would be a fantastic collection!

  • I’ve actually been to the financial district area (where the first image was taken) when it was completely empty. Some of those places just empty out at certain times of the day, its incredibly eerie.

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