Santa Monica Sunset
Behind the Shot
In 1909, the first iteration of the Santa Monica Pier was opened to the public. The concrete pier was built to carry sewer lines out to sea to keep the beaches clean. It soon became a popular fishing destination. In 1922 the Carousel, a National Historic Landmark that still stands and runs today, opened to the public with 44 hand-carved horses plus a calliope to provide the music.
Over the years, a roller coaster was added to the pier. The Playland Arcade with bumper cars, carnival-style rides and attractions was opened. Restaurants and food stands opened alongside tourist shops and the pier grew as a tourist destination well into the 1960s.
By the 1970s, though, competition from other local attractions and theme parks such as Disneyland caused a dramatic downturn in the pier. The destination became much less family- and tourist-friendly, and fell into general disrepair. The fateful storms of 1983 destroyed much of the pier, leaving only about one-third standing.
By 1990, the pier had been rebuilt, and six years later, Pacific Park officially opened. With it, the first full-scale amusement park attractions were opened on the pier since the 1930s. Today the pier is again an international tourist destination.
Kyle photographed the pier in late January during a beautiful Southern California sunset. “The cotton candy sunset was lit up like crazy this day. The colors of the pier and the Ferris wheel lit up put a smile on everyone's face. When I first moved to LA, I thought this was the coolest place. I still do.”