Hollywood is a town that has been defined more by its myths than its realities. It’s a town built on fiction and endless aspirations.

So, photographs that are free from the influence of publicists and marketing teams can seem jarring and surprising. But that can be a good thing.

That’s what Matt Sweeney’s photographs do. They show an unexpected and beautiful side of Hollywood in the early eighties, where the 1-mile stretch between Hollywood and Vine and Hollywood and Highland was a setting of public theater with every kind of character, both big and small.

Taken during his early twenties using a Nikon SLR with Kodachrome film, his images of Los Angeles capture a unique time in a way that’s rare and wonderful.

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