Venice Beach: The last days of a bohemian paradise?

A look at the diversity and free spirit of the iconic Venice Beach boardwalk.

Photographer Dotan Saguy has been documenting the diverse and bohemian spirit of the iconic Venice Beach boardwalk for the past three years.

He was drawn to the free-spirited, anti-materialistic and inclusive nature of the world-famous location, which he found to be a “breath of fresh air from Los Angeles' sometimes homogenized, celebrity-obsessed, plasticized culture,” comments Saguy.

The renowned Venice Beach Boardwalk includes the famed Muscle Beach outdoor gym, funky shops for souvenirs, street buskers, mimes to musicians and everything in between.

The boardwalk is great for people-watching. But Saguy and others believe it is now giving way to upscale boutiques, coffee bars, high-priced homes and through gentrification, is, unfortunately, being threatened from the way of life that has defined Venice for decades.

Saguy knows that he has documented what could be a lost society should the people portrayed in his book are forced to acculturate. It is his hope that Venice Beach will help bring awareness to the issues at stake before this amazing way of life is left to fade away.

The exhibition and opening reception on Aug. 11, from 5 to 8 p.m., runs until Sept. 21, and is presented as part of Venice Arts’ 25th Anniversary celebrations. It corresponds with the publication of the monograph Venice Beach: Last Days of a Bohemian Paradise by the German photo book publisher Kehrer Verlag.