City of Angels

There’s something comforting about having to frequent a city where you’d never (ever) want to live.

Sunrise from West Hollywood by Margaret Zhang

Sunset Tower Hotel by Margaret Zhang

I like the idea of Los Angeles. I like the promise of palm trees and dry heat and driving on the other side of the street. I like daydreams of its Golden Age, where the beginnings of modern popular culture and star hysteria drew hybrid crowds of screen sirens, old world royalty, anguished musicians, and nouveau riche into the same rooms and circles of dysfunctional friendships and torrid love affairs. I am partial to plummeting down Wikipedia rabbitholes of the rise and tragic falls of buxom blonde Old Hollywood starlets. How the dramatic deaths of stars in Chateau Marmont suites, surrounded by excess and steeped in loneliness, became so heavily romanticised to the point of a sick, twisted beauty, is itself fascinating.

After all, Los Angeles is where life’s greatest ironies go to breed. The Fountain of Youth that ages its Botox babes with cynicism and insecurity. Pretending not to play The Game when you’re playing it so damn hard. Justifying excess and morally questionable pastimes because Sinatra or Monroe did the same. And yet, its vanity makes for the most excellent gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan menus. And its terrifying levels of pollution makes for the most incredible sunrises, sunsets and Golden Hours in between.

I’ve spent the past week and a half in a strange twilight zone of sepia tones and somnolent haze, unwittingly living by an unwritten manual of how life in Los Angeles is culturally storyboarded to be. Sunrise at Sunset Tower, sunset in Malibu, art immersion Downtown, baby time in Brentwood, cheap manicures in Hollywood strip malls, sunglasses on at all times. On the flipside, I’m studying but not absorbing, and working on things so absolutely surreal to the point of having to mentally recalibrate what is normal – or at least, trying not to be so judgmental and/or so horrified by other people’s far-flung standards of normalcy.

Sunrise from West Hollywood by Margaret Zhang

Sunset Tower Hotel by Margaret Zhang

Drive-by Culver City by Margaret Zhang

Glenn Lignon at the BROAD by Margaret Zhang

Sunset from Sunset Tower by Margaret Zhang

In that sense, there’s something comforting about having to frequent a city where you’d never (ever) want to live. I’d imagine that the likes of Cannes would be much the same. You can dip in and out. There’s no need to save some of the city’s charm for later, or get used to its frustrating shortcomings, or spend any time expanding your networks of people. You can take what you want and to hell with practicality and reason, even if the subsequent lifestyle for a few short days is completely fantastical.

For somebody whose everyday is militantly dictated by a mission for productivity and progress, flighty skepticism is some kind of cognitive vacation.

Mark Bradford at the BROAD by Margaret Zhang

Los Angeles by Margaret Zhang

  • I LOVE THIS! Girl you are amazing. True roll model! Congrats on every single post, because you are inspiration for not only young people but a few old ones could learn something from you! This gif. thing is so cool!

    thestylecter.blogspot.com

  • mcboodles

    I’ve plummeted down the same rabbitholes! They don’t make ’em like Van Doren anymore.

  • What beautiful photos Margaret! You really captured the ‘rock n roll’ vibe I associate with Los Angeles :-D

  • Amazing pictures!!

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    Kisses from http://www.withorwithoutshoes.com
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  • Fabienne Maxi

    I couldn’t even stop reading, that’s how much your post captivated me, maybe because of my obsession with LA but much more likely because your style of writing couldn’t convey the typical LA vibes any better. I’ve never read such a honest and amusing description of Los Angeles and as always your photos are totally stunning! Each photo seems to tell his very own story I especially appreciate how you inserted the gifs! Such a new and refreshing way to capture and share a moment. Sending you the best wishes and kindest regards!

    My blog: http://www.fabiennemaxi.com

  • This is absolutely dreamy!

  • Beautiful and amazing photos<3

    Shall We Sasa

  • Jenny K

    I love reading your thoughts. I love your vision.

  • Suzie Yang

    As always, you manage to capture so perfectly the feelings that most others can’t put into words. I visited LA for the first time recently and have been subconsciously searching for something like this. One exception though was the Getty Centre – such a sanctuary!

  • Shivan Patel (Gathum)

    Loved LA to when i visited

    check me out for some editorial shots!

    http://www.gathum.co.nz
    xxx

  • Love this! Stunning photographs and fun gif’s :)

    x

  • Stephanie
  • Love this insight into LA.
    Heading there in July and I can’t wait to experience some of the Cali living you’ve touched on.

  • Your photography is iconic.

    Velveteencockroach

  • JEFFREY

    Will begin with the good– your photography is excellent. Will end with the bad– your writing. You are the perfect example of someone who tries so hard to sound elegant, fluid, intelligent and interesting. Except your writing is none of those. Still with the camera!

    • Fanny

      I think Margaret is actually really eloquent, intelligent and interesting… it’s just a particular writing style.

    • Tiffany

      Well you might not like that style of writing but at least she tries. Margaret actually seems to hold her readers to a higher standard. She knows that she can write in a less simplistic manner, and extend her vocabulary in her writing, because she gives her readers more credit than some other blogs. Also Jeffrey, your comment isn’t elegant, fluid, intelligent or really that interesting, I’m going to blame the lack of grammar, or maybe even just your lack of skill. :)

  • Jeann Chong

    This piece is brilliant! Also, great pictures!

  • Luke Ross

    A fantastic read! You hit the nail on the head about LA.

    http://www.thefashionsamaritan.com

  • Caitlin Johns

    A fantastic insight into travel, brilliant as always!
    Caity X

    Caity Says

  • Tiffany

    Every time I see a new post on this site I get super excited. I’ve practically gone through every post right now because of how much I adore your photography, and writing. You probably get told that a lot, along with how great it is to see such an honest, and different blog, compared to the content that has saturated the internet. Anyway, I like that through this post we get to see a little bit of LA, without having to take a long trip there (for us that live a fair 12 hour plane flight, away).

    tiffanyandcouture.com

  • POSH NINE BITS

    hands down to the dedication you put into all your posts!

    posh9bits.com

  • Anne McLayne

    Your content is just so inspiring!
    https://annvenue.wordpress.com/

  • I’ve never actually been to LA but want to go!! I love your writing as well. And these photos! Grea tpost.

    http://www.maggiealamode.com

  • Nataliya Ogle

    This definitely is making me want to visit LA again. I spent a few months in Malibu area, and I definitely miss the weather and the scenery.

    xo
    N

    Style Tomes || Style Tomes on Instagram

  • Lovey Fleming

    This is probably one of the coolest posts I’ve ever seen– in both writing and photography~

    xoxo

    http://theindiegirl.com

  • Love the photos and the style of writing, it’s unique and captivating.
    http://www.busyandfab.com

  • Los Angeles is always better imagined than it is in real life. IRL it’s smoggy and gross, but hypothetically it’s this hub of glamour and diamond covered palm trees. Your photos are doing such a great job of representing this hypothetical, I have to remind myself how thoroughly unromantic LA actually is.

    I dig it.

    xxKatherine

    http://katherineandtheclandestine.com

  • I must say, LA looks like a magnificent place!

    Love,

    http://www.thestyleventure.com

  • Just discovered your blog and I love love love it so much!

  • fixatedfaiyaz

    So much of perfection, but that’s nothing new for you. loving all the gifs! glad you brought them back.

    xx Faiyaz
    http://www.fixatedf.com

  • Beautiful photos,you’re an inspiration for me.

    http://agrumazascai.blogspot.com/

  • Style hue

    I never want to live in LA either :/ I went there once but did not like it much..
    Your pictures are beautiful though !! Love all the GIF’s and how you made the sunset <3

    xo
    https://stylehue.wordpress.com/

  • Thanks for sharing these amazing images with us and your point of view is so great.

    Would love it if you ladies would check out my swimwear brand, I designed the bikinis for girls who have real bodies and also it is American made swimwear! I strive to make a well fitting suit that flatters a size 2 or a size 10/12. I would love feedback on the designs also if anyone wants to drop me a line. billi@honeybeeswim.com Thanks!

    HONEY BEE SWIM

    http://www.shophoneybee.com

  • Wow amazing photography, you are so talented!

    xx
    Xin

    http://xincerely.blogspot.com

  • Molly Quinn

    http://www.paradisbasics.com

    I love the additions the moving photos!

  • Belle melange

    Beautiful pictures!

    http://bellemelange.net/blog/

  • Kelly Pryor

    I get so excited about your posts, I love your photography.

    http://memoirofkelly.blogspot.co.uk

  • love the photos & a well written post (as always) =)
    -m.yang
    http://www.looksbymc.com

  • Sophie Lee

    LA looks absolutely stunning in your photos

    Wish I can visit there someday <3

    Love from Best Bags 2016

  • what an amazing and well structured blog you have. I adore your writing and the images are amazing.

    Sovanny x
    https://thestylegem.wordpress.com

  • I cannot wait to go to LA one day. I’m oddly obsessed with the whole dilapidated, faded nostalgia of the past mixed with the current. You photographs remind me so much of this, and your thoughts are perfectly articulated, as always!

    http://www.carolynwestphotography.com/blog

  • alyssa amato

    Beautiful post! Love all your photos and your writing is wonderful. Keep up the amazing work! xx

    http://www.fashionsensored.com

  • These photos are so inspirational! Love, love them!

    Love, Marie Roget

  • Anea Duratovic

    Great post again Margaret, I love reading your articles!

    http://www.hercouturelife.com

  • viktoria

    wow! amazing post!

    thedaydreamings.blogspot.com

  • Emma Louise

    I love the Sunset Tower Hotel–a fascinating history and a much classier place to stay over the ‘hipster’ alternatives. I stayed there on my wedding night and when I was downstairs on the terrace by the pool having breakfast the next day it was the first place I ever said, “my husband”. Thanks for a great read.

  • Fifi

    These photos are absolutely stunning!!

    xx http://goingbyfifi.theblogpress.com/

  • “The Fountain of Youth that ages its Botox babes with cynicism and
    insecurity. Pretending not to play The Game when you’re playing it so
    damn hard.” You are such a great writer and I love your photography. I just saw your interview for CNN and loved it. You may get tired of hearing this…nah probably not…you are so talented and inspiring.

    ~Krisztina
    http://www.krisztinawilliams.com

  • Love the photos! Stunning! <3

    http://www.desjen.com

  • Baskirtseff

    ‘For somebody whose everyday is militantly dictated by a mission for productivity and progress, flighty skepticism is some kind of cognitive vacation.’ This is just a great summary of a Gen Y view on life. Love it!

  • Both your style of writing and pictures are like exquisite pieces of Art! Really beautiful and inspiring, thanks for sharing! Will love to visit LA one day.

    Prudence
    Giveaway Now At
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  • Another stunning set. Your talent knows no bounds. You’ve made the city of angels desirable – well at least to someone who’s more of a New York lover LOL. Must say one of your shots remind me of the Constantine movie!

    xoxo Aela
    http://throughaelaseyes.com

  • Holy eff that shot of the pink curtains. Take me away!- Jocellyn

  • Honestly, I’ve probably gone through every post you’ve written. I’m coming back every time I know you posted because I enjoy your photography; your art and your writing at a point where it’s not even easy to put into words. Your content is currently the thing that give me thrills and as for LA, I totally get the point. There’s something magic about it, but still you feel the pressure of living there, constantly being on flashlights and living on a really thin thread! Either way, you’re always impressing me and that’s such a great reason to come back! x

    TCle
    http://tomboychronicle.com

  • Ellen

    Beautifully written. Great juxtaposition: Vanity & great menus; smog and beautiful sunsets. You are just a great writer.
    But…L.A. isn’t all you’ve written here. It’s not all bad. There are some real spots in the Valley. But…excellent writing.

  • I’ve never seen a more perfect use of a gif than that of the sunrise. Breathtaking.

    http://www.adxmaiora.com/welcome-to-hong-kong/

  • Candice Lam

    Well said. Exceptional arts of yours.

  • ANGELINA PEREZ

    I cannot wait to go to LA one day. I’m oddly obsessed with the whole dilapidated, faded nostalgia of the past mixed with the current. You photographs remind me so much of this, and your thoughts are perfectly articulated, as always!

  • Los Angeles is always better imagined than it is in real life.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Abdul,
    ( https://freeapkdownloader.info/m/android-games/los-angeles-crazy-bus-maniac/ )

  • Margaret is all of my goals. I was watching S01 of Fashion Bloggers and I just skipped to all of Margarets scenes.

    http://www.thestylemuse.co

  • Really nice outfits…

About

Margaret Zhang is a Chinese-Australian photographer, director, stylist and writer based in New York. Since her digital beginnings in the fashion industry in 2009, Margaret has worked with global brands including Chanel, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Clinique, Lexus, Dior, Gucci, Matches and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney.
Though regularly featured in print and digital media as a model and personality alike, Margaret’s pho tography, styling, and creative direction has been employed by the likes of Vogue, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, Buro24/7, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40 lists, and her work has been recognised as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index, and ELLE Magazine’s Best Digital Influencer of The Year Award.

 

 

 

For project enquiries Tess.Stillwell@img.com
General enquiries bookings@margaretzhang.com.au