A Different Perspective

Local artist and photographer Ken Bishop turned his gaze from the sea to The Strand in his new book, Strandscape.

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    Amber Klinck

As South Bay residents, we all share at least one commonality: a deep appreciation for coastal living. We sacrifice square footage for walk streets and narrow alleyways that double as sport courts for our kids. The Strand serves as our expressway—the well-traveled road that links our communities, keeping us all just one short bike ride away.

No matter how long you’ve called the South Bay home, watching the sun set from the sand never gets old … and it’s unlikely you’ll ever hear someone complain about an ocean view.

Let’s be honest—we probably all have the same images of the last epic sunset on our phones, just from slightly different angles. #HomeSweetHome

But it was the view from the beach looking inland that caught the eye of local artist and photographer Ken Bishop and inspired the collection of photographs found in his book Hermosa Beach Strandscape: The 2-Mile Panorama. “It’s like my love letter to Hermosa,” he explains. “I’ve met so many wonderful people here. I can’t stroll down The Strand without seeing someone I know. [Hermosa’s] my home; it’s my community.”

“I’ve always been interested in panoramic imagery and stereoscopic three-dimensional imagery.”

There were quite a few stops along the way before Ken settled in Hermosa, however. He was born in Hawaii and grew up in Utah. He also lived in Brazil for two years and Sydney for three. But it was the South Bay’s “downtown Disneyland” feel and “family-friendly vibes” that have kept him and his wife here for nearly 12 years.

Trained in illustration at Brigham Young University, Ken creates characters and animation for video games, movies and television—work he describes as his “day job.” But it’s the hours spent playing beach volleyball and surfing that inspired him to take more than 500 images of the Hermosa Beach Strand.

“I’ve always been interested in panoramic imagery and stereoscopic three-dimensional imagery,” he notes. “This project was just a personal piece in the beginning. I had this thought: There are so many places you live and grow up as a kid. I wish I just had a picture of the street in front of my house. Like the things you see every day that you don’t really think of having a record of. This is your view from the sand, from the beach.”

All the images in Strandscape were taken on the same summer day, a few feet apart, over a two-hour period. But it was the months after that made up the real work of the project.

“I’m really well-versed in Photoshop because of my job,” Ken explains. “But it was kind of a complicated process, masking and painting the images together. I stitched everything together by hand.”

Once complete, Ken wanted to create a digital, interactive experience where people could “see the whole image and scroll back and forth,” he says. “I realized Instagram was the perfect platform for that.”

After starting his account, Ken loaded roughly 825 images sequentially onto his feed, converting the collection into one single image that can be scrolled back and forth. “Turn your phone sideways and you see the whole Strand view.”

Wanting a physical copy of the project, Ken got to work designing the book. “I’m really happy with how it turned out,” he notes. Adding balance to the book’s already harmonious esthetic is a dust jacket showcasing Hermosa at sunrise and a cover displaying the same image at sunset. Available for purchase at local shops Gum Tree, Waterleaf and Curious and at hbstrandscape.com, Ken is donating to feedingamerica.org for every book sold.

“I’ll always have this as a memento of a place I lived that I loved so much,” he says. “I figure if other people enjoy it as well, then great. I’m going to put it out there.”