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LA Nights

Roberto Nickson


Behind the Shot

First established in 1886 by Moses Hazeltine Sherman, the town of Sherman, California, was built at the junction between the Pacific and Pasadena segments of the electric Los Angeles Pacific Railway. Sherman’s residents appreciated the proximity to Los Angeles without the cost of living in the city proper. In 1925, residents voted to change the name of the town to West Hollywood to more closely align with its famous neighbor to the east. The renamed city remained independent of Los Angeles, and as such, existed outside the jurisdiction of the often heavy-handed Los Angeles Police Department and its vice squad. Bars and clubs thrived, and legal gambling made the area a magnet for mobsters and others who lived on the fringes of respectable society. Minority and oppressed communities gravitated to the area. The LGBTQ community escaped the overreach of LAPD’s vice squads, and artists and entertainers turned Sunset Boulevard into the epicenter of the music business in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1984 a coalition of LGBTQ activists, Jewish community organizers and elderly supporters successfully voted to incorporate the area as the city of West Hollywood—electing its own city council and mayor, and establishing the city as a center for the progressive LGBTQ community.

Roberto and Carleigh called West Hollywood home for a short while. “We lived here for a couple years, and we absolutely loved the view from our balcony. Our window faced west, so we would always get courtside seats for the beautiful SoCal sunsets. We added string lights to our rooftop patio, and on a particularly good sunset night, I decided to use them as the foreground for this shot.”