Source | Chris Pritchard and friends / Vimeo | 13 March 2023
In 2013, Chris Pritchard was sitting on a rooftop in El Segundo, waiting for a shoot to begin and looking out over Los Angeles. The incoming planes looked like a highway, evenly spaced and spread across multiple lanes. This led his eye to the end of their path – LAX, Los Angeles International Airport. He realized he had a fully unobstructed view of the airport, and immediately started capturing timelapses of it. He became fascinated with the many layers of movement that were visible – planes taking off and landing, planes taxiing, ground support equipment moving on the ramp and throughout the airport, passenger vehicles on World Way, passengers on foot outside and inside the airport – all moving at their own unique pace. It made him realize that LAX is a city unto itself, with so many moving pieces and individual people all doing their part to keep it moving. Despite its struggles, it is a logistical and modern marvel. He wanted to show it in a way it had never been seen.
Three years later, in 2016, Chris and some good friends were able to bring this project to life with help from the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, Los Angeles World Airports, and a group of talented shooters. They set out to capture these layers of movement in a way that cannot be seen with the naked eye, and from vantage points that few get to experience. They didn’t expect it to take an additional three years to complete, but it was worth the effort.
Getting to experience every aspect of LAX as a non-traveler and having the opportunity to work with so many people who help keep it operating has given Chris a new perspective on this place. Chris began to notice more and more things when not shouldered with the frenetic hustle of trying to catch a flight. He documented as many of them as he could. Only some of them made the final edit. There are many more he’d love to go back and document if given the opportunity. The attention to detail that goes in to every aspect of running a major airport is astounding. While its easy – and not without reason – to become frustrated with construction, traffic, delays, and all the issues afflicting modern air travel, Chris is also amazed and appreciates that this place operates as well as it does, safely and securely, day in and day out.
LAX moved about 87.5 million passengers in 2018, making it the 4th busiest airport in the world. It is the busiest for origins/destinations – more people start or end their travel at LAX than any other airport worldwide. Chris and his friends initially started work on this film to showcase layers of movement that look visually interesting, but came to view LAX as a city that most people only tangentially experience. These layers of movement are representative of tens of thousands of employees, each playing their own role in a complex puzzle to make it function for millions of people. Next time you find yourself there, take a moment and look around at all these layers of movement happening around you, inside and out.
Chris Pritchard heads a Los Angeles based boutique production company specializing in high resolution timelapse, aerials, and high quality visuals. They create custom content for the commercial, corporate, television, and film worlds, as well as offering an extensive library of stock content covering a variety of locations and concepts. For more please check out www.chrispzero.com