Hollywood Streets, 1979-1983

In the late 1970s, Matt Sweeney dropped out of high school with dreams of becoming a movie maker. While working in gas stations and restaurants in San Jose, California, he found out about Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope education/training/intern program, and moved to Hollywood to pursue that. Matt wanted to work behind the camera, so he started practicing with a Nikon F2 camera, shooting Kodachrome slides. Inspired by photographers like Garry Winogrand, Minor White, and Elliott Erwitt, he set out to document the world around him on the streets of Hollywood, photographing scenes from 1979 through 1983, while hoping somehow to hit the big time. The internship never happened, and unfortunately, no production jobs materialized. At 21, Matt moved on, selling his equipment and working through college to do lab work. "I went to Hollywood to 'make it', but didn't, and ended up taking pictures of Hollywood, capturing scenes of others 'not making it' as well. It didn't escape me then and it doesn't now." Matt held onto the slides, now more than 30 years old, and has recently begun scanning and posting them on Tumblr. "The web makes it possible to leave some kind of record of my time and share it with people". Many thanks to Matt for sharing these images below, captions by the photographer.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Metin Aktas / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Scenes From Midwinter

    A collection of recent images showing people and animals both surviving and enjoying frigid midwinter conditions.

  • Marcos Reategui / Getty

    Photos: An Oil Spill Causes an Environmental Emergency in Peru

    An oil tanker spilled thousands of barrels of oil into the ocean along the coastline of Peru.

  • Irene Stachon / Lehtikuva / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Wolf Moon, Snow Maze, Burning Barrel

    A murmuration of starlings over Rome, cosplay in a California desert, basking capybaras in Venezuela, ice climbing in Turkey, a violent volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago, and much more

  • Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP

    Hurling Turnips at the Jarramplas

    Every January, the streets of Piornal, Spain, fill with residents armed with turnips, seeking to punish the devil-like Jarramplas.