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Photo Opportunity

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The idea of photographing a particular geographic area during one 24-hour period started on a grand scale with the 1981 coffee-table book “A Day in the Life of Australia” and was followed by books on Canada, the former Soviet Union, China, the United States and other countries.

A much more intimate portrayal is being planned for March 8.

It’s a day in the life of Eagle Rock. Well, technically it’s titled “Eagle Rock Snap Shot.” (Organizers feared a trademark violation if they called it “A Day in the Life of Eagle Rock.”)

Community leaders are encouraging residents to get out their Canons and Nikons--even their video cameras--to capture the sprit and essence of Eagle Rock.

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And just what is the sprit and essence of Eagle Rock, that slice of Northeast Los Angeles between Pasadena and Glendale?

“The thing about Eagle Rock is that it has a small-town feel with a diverse population,” said resident Ann Marie Jones, a Los Angeles city employee who modestly says it was her idea for the photo day.

A few months ago, Jones was talking to John Miller, president of the Eagle Rock Historical Society, who showed her a collection of old photographs of the neighborhood.

“I thought it would be nice if we could do something now for future generations of residents of Eagle Rock,” Jones said.

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The brainstorm for the “day in the life” concept came during a leadership program class she was taking. “Everybody in the class was supposed to have an idea about something that would inspire them, and I thought of this,” she said.

Community leaders will look through the photographs and select hundreds to be put on display in various community buildings in Eagle Rock, including the Chamber of Commerce and the historical society.

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Many echo Jones’ thoughts that it is Eagle Rock’s small-town atmosphere they find most appealing.

“Take Tritch Hardware, for example,” said David Arzouman, a composer who grew up in Eagle Rock, moved to New York City for a decade and recently moved back near his old neighborhood. “It’s not one of those big, impersonal Home Depots. Going to Tritch’s,” a staple in Eagle Rock for 52 years, “is like visiting your neighbors.”

The same goes for Casa Bianca, the popular pizza parlor that has been open since 1955.

“When you go away from home for 10 years and go back into Casa Bianca and you’ll recognize faces you remember from high school,” said Arzouman, 41. “In big, cold Los Angeles, with its reputation for being impersonal, Eagle Rock is a throwback to an earlier time.”

Over at the restaurant, which is almost as much a landmark as the big rock itself, owner Sam Martorana is planning to take pictures at his pizzeria.

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“I’ve been here 42 years, and of course it’s changed. It used to be very quaint and, basically, it still is,” said Martorana, 73, a camera buff with a particular appreciation of the community’s main photographic attraction. “If you get to the rock at just the right time in the afternoon, the sun hits it perfectly and shows off the full span of the eagle.”

“Eagle Rock used to be such a quiet place, but now it’s livelier,” said Bob Costa, owner of Another World Comics and Books. “There’s such cultural diversity here, and it is good. We have a Polish, Thai, Italian, Mexican, and Armenian restaurants almost right next to each other.”

The rock doesn’t compare to El Capitan and the neighborhood shutterbugs will never eclipse Ansel Adams, but on March 8 don’t tell that to an Eagle Rocker.


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