While the proliferation of cellphone cameras has threatened to make everyone a documentarian, one dedicated photographer has risen above the flood of Instagrams and blurred snapshots to capture the spirit and energy of the surging craft beer movement in Southern California, and Monday Night’s opening reception for the “I Shoot Beer People” show packed Echo Park’s Mohawk Bend with the city’s beer professionals who turned up to toast beloved beer photographer Bernie Wire.
During the last two years Wire has captured countless moments at beer festivals, breweries and local bars as L.A.'s craft beer fans reveled around him, and for L.A. Beer Week Mohawk Bend is featuring this first exhibit of Wire’s beer photography.
The show is a collection of about a dozen large prints displayed in the theater-turned-gastropub’s Ramona Room. The pieces -- painstakingly selected by Wire from his library of thousands of images -- range from still lifes of brewing equipment and glasses of beer, to shots of the brewers at work and the fans enjoying their end products.
Wire is a well-known figure in the burgeoning L.A. beer scene, and he was often referred to as L.A. beer’s historian and most important documentarian during Monday’s raucous opening. Even though nearly every brewery, beer bar and beer media outlet in Los Angeles was represented among the adoring crowd, the mild-mannered Wire could not have been more humble and thrilled to see such an immense outpouring of support.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” he told me in between hugging, toasting and taking pictures with the legion of “beer people” who clamored to congratulate him. Wire says he seeks to “capture the spirit of the craft beer explosion” with his photography, and -- as the energy at Monday’s opening attests to -- he has certainly made people excited about craft beer and the blossoming scene in Los Angeles.
The “I Shoot Beer People” show runs through Oct. 31; also view Wire’s beer photography at FriendsofLocalBeer.com.
Mohawk Bend, 2141 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, (213) 483-2337, www.mohawk.la.