I was in Borders late last night, loitering in the Travel section where they’d stashed a whole series of city Noir anthologies. DC Noir, LA Noir, San Francisco Noir, New York Noir (even Brooklyn Noir), New Orleans Noir, Havana Noir, etc. Not one sign of San Diego. What gives? My adopted city is filled with Noirish nooks and crannies after dark. It has mean streets, gritty alleys, Art Deco buildings, busted neon signs, and shapely dames with femme fatale eyes flashing in the shadows. So where the hell is San Diego Noir?
Right here I guess, as dedicated readers of this blog will recall my series of posts with that title. So all the writers have passed through this city like zombies heading north to Los Angeles or San Francisco… never stopping to sniff around in dark corners. Guess we’re just not shadowy enough for them. Maybe the murder rate’s too low. Or perhaps they don’t like the fact that it’s a Navy town.
For photographers this city is a goldmine of gloom. Its got the extremes of blazing California sunlight by day and deep purple pools at night. It has plenty of transients and shady characters, tattoo parlors, pawn shops, and fortune tellers. We’ve got gypsies, pimps, and unemployed magicians. Sad jazz and raging rap. Yellow cabs and black and white patrol cars. Fog, mist, and the Bible-black sea. Floaters, drifters, graffiti and con artists.
Ideas are swirling around my head like a ceiling fan.
After I put my book on digital photography to bed, I’ll tackle this city once and for all.
Call it San Diego Noir and to hell with the rest.