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Ramelli calls this “The Terminator View” because "The Terminator" movies 1 and 4 start with this view.
SERGE RAMELLI
Ramelli calls this “The Terminator View” because "The Terminator" movies 1 and 4 start with this view.
Serge Ramelli's latest photography book aims his lens on his adopted home of Los Angeles — a city in which this self-taught photographer still hopes to find fame

Photographer Serge Ramelli was born and raised in Paris, but his current inspiration isn’t the City of Lights — it’s the City of Angels. Ramelli’s newest book, the fourth in a series focused on different cities around the globe, aims his lens on Los Angeles and features Ramelli’s trademark creative use of Photoshop to amp up his photography. 

Ramelli, 48, set out to be an actor and director, and he’s still in show business. In fact, the photographer stars in a just-released Amazon film titled “The Hollywouldnt’s” and is currently working with a Hollywood producer on a new feature project. But in 2004, when the budding performer was struggling to find work, a friend introduced him to the wonders of Photoshopping his photographs. Ramelli was inspired.

“It was a revelation to me,” he says. “I thought, ‘Until I figure out this whole movie thing, at least I can take photos.’”

Ramelli spent years teaching himself photography and Photoshop, and mainly focused on cityscapes in Paris. A move to Los Angeles four years ago supercharged his newfound inspiration. “I’ve shot Paris for 10 years, so I was happy to do something else,” he says.

He discovered that, unlike Paris, Los Angeles offers vast photographic opportunities within an easy drive. “The Pacific, the desert, the redwoods, Carmel — I find these amazing spots in California!” Remelli says.

After spending years developing his craft and uploading his photographs to the internet, Ramelli hit two major successes within 48 hours in June of 2013. He got a multi-book deal that allows him to release one or two photography books a year, each featuring a different city — his most recent being “Los Angeles.” Two days later, Ramelli inked a contract with YellowKorner, a company that runs 84 galleries around the world. That made Ramelli’s available to a mass audience at prices starting at $79 a print.

He’s still pursuing Hollywood fame, mind you. But in the meantime, Ramelli has found unexpected success with his cityscapes. “I’m so addicted to photography. I almost shoot everyday,” Ramelli says. “I did it as a substitution and it really became a passion.”

Walt Disney Concert Hall, one of Ramelli's favorite pieces of architecture in Los Angeles. SERGE RAMELLI

Walt Disney Concert Hall, one of Ramelli's favorite pieces of architecture in Los Angeles.

The Manhattan Beach Pier is one of a favorite pier of Ramelli's to photograph, along with Hermosa Beach Pier. SERGE RAMELLI

The Manhattan Beach Pier is one
of a favorite pier of Ramelli's to photograph,
along with Hermosa Beach Pier.

El Matador Beach has been used as a filming location for many movies over the years. SERGE RAMELLI

El Matador Beach has been used as a filming location for many movies over the years.

Classic sunset in downtown Los Angeles. SERGE RAMELLI

Classic sunset in downtown Los Angeles.

Ramelli loves Beverly Hills because there are no cars on the side of the streets and the palm trees give you an incredible leading line. SERGE RAMELLI

Ramelli loves Beverly Hills because there are no cars on the side of the streets
and the palm trees give you an incredible leading line.

Ramelli recommends that If you get a chance to visit Venice Canals in Los Angeles, go there on a cloudy day to photograph the amazing reflection you get from the still water. SERGE RAMELLI

Ramelli recommends that If you get a chance to visit Venice Canals in Los Angeles, go there on a cloudy day to photograph the amazing reflection
you get from the still water.

Keep reading: A new exhibit at the California Historical Society aims to preserve the state’s stunning collection of Chicano murals