“Hollywood Boulevard, Walk of Fame, 1970s. You were there, with your camera, with your love of life and people. It seems you turned the sidewalk into a little stage, and everyone came for a momentary audition. Some wanted to be famous, some were ok with a walk-on part, most were just happy to see you.”
So writes David Campany of the pictures in Star Struck, the first monograph from the legendary Ave Pildas in more than 40 years. Pildas made these photographs in perhaps the most famous of the many famous spots in Los Angeles – but at a time (between 1972 and 1975) when Hollywood had more of a neighborhood feel and a raucous diversity was the norm.
In Pildas’s generous and gentle view, everyone is an A-list celebrity. And he should know: those who have sat before his camera include Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, and the Velvet Underground. Pildas brings the same joyous discipline to regular folks on the street as he did to his well-known work for DownBeat magazine and Capitol Records.
In the end, the most beautiful and beguiling thing about Star Struck is that you’re not sure if the title refers to the people whom Ave Pildas encountered on Hollywood Boulevard, or to the photographer himself.