“The streets were dark with something more than night,” wrote Raymond Chandler in The Simple Art of Murder (1950). Born in Chicago but brought up in Los Angeles, Chandler helped create the genre that became synonymous with the City of Angels – the grimy, morally ambiguous Noir. And, suggests a new book by Taschen’s executive editor Jim Heimann, there’s good reason why LA gave birth to Noir. A small (though already shady) city until 1892, it was transformed when oil was discovered in modern day Echo Park. The black gold brought in money, and with it corruption, and a series of lurid real-life crimes. At the same time, Hollywood and the burgeoning newspaper industry helped ensure a plentiful supply of photographers, documenting both the good and the bad to be found.
“If you’ve been to Morocco I think you’ll understand that we’re a very colourful country, a colourful people. We see every colour being worn. In Morocco that there is the clash of colours and an attitude not to be scared of colours,” says Hassan Hajjaj. His latest exhibition, La Caravane, is about to launch at Somerset House, the first display for the British-Moroccan photographer in London in seven years. His work reflects on identity and culture, which has featured as a big part of his life and work since moving to the UK from a small port town in Morocco aged just 13.