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Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Yellow car and pantsuit on Hollywood Blvd

Los Angeles’ Hollywood is an odd place. Not many other places on Earth let you see wildly wealthy people and homeless people on the same street, along with unkempt free-spirited folks, well-groomed hip young people, street performers, and a million tourists taking pictures of it all.

In 1979, 17-year-old Matt Sweeney left his home and headed to Hollywood with dreams of making it big as a filmmaker. It didn’t happen. Film production jobs never quite materialized, and Sweeney made ends meet by working in local photography shops. He spent his free time and weekends riding the bus and wandering the streets of West Hollywood with his Nikon F2, honing his visual instincts by shooting street photos on cinematic Kodachrome slide film.

After four years chasing the dream, Sweeney decided to move on. He sold his equipment, but held on to the images he shot. They form a gritty and colorful record of life on the outskirts of the red carpet, of people who, like Sweeney, didn’t quite “make it.”

Check out Sweeney’s photos of Hollywood below.

1. Yellow car and pantsuit on Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Yellow car and pantsuit on Hollywood Blvd

2. Morning at the Hollywood and Vine payphone that got lots of use over the years.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Morning at the Hollywood and Vine payphone that got lots of use over the years

3. Woman waits for bus in Hollywoodland on Beachwood.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Woman waits for bus in Hollywoodland on Beachwood

4. Hollywood and Vine, bus stop waiting.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Hollywood and Vine, bus stop waiting

5. Hollywood and Vine. When asked to shoot she said, ‘Honey, we are all vain.’

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Hollywood and Vine. When asked to shoot she said, Honey, we are all vain

6. RTD bus comes from Hollywoodland and turns onto Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 RTD bus comes from Hollywoodland and turns onto Hollywood Blvd

7. Bald man reads newsstand sex rag while woman in blue pants walks by just off Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Bald man reads newsstand sex rag while woman in blue pants walks by just off Hollywood Blvd

8. One of the many older folks waiting for the right RTD bus on Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 One of the many older folks waiting for the right RTD bus on Hollywood Blvd

9. Riding the bus out of Hollywood into LA as the sun sets.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Riding the bus out of Hollywood into LA as the sun sets

10. Hollywood Blvd shoe store window after sunrise.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Hollywood Blvd shoe store window after sunrise

11. The Den Mother and the Act stroll Hollywood Blvd while a man waits up the street for them.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 The Den Mother and the Act stroll Hollywood Blvd while a man waits up the street for them

12. Gentleman with glasses and coat waits for bus on Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Gentleman with glasses and coat waits for bus on Hollywood Blvd

13. A long time acquaintance with many names enjoys the attention on Hollywood Blvd morning.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 A long time acquaintance with many names enjoys the attention on Hollywood Blvd morning

14. Smoking at the bus stop between Mann’s and Highland.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Smoking at the bus stop between Mann's and Highland

15. Waiting to cross Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Waiting to cross Hollywood Blvd

16. General Hershey Bar does anti-war street theater in front of Mann’s.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 General Hershey Bar does anti-war street theater in front of Manns

17. Tourist picture at Mann’s.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Tourist picture at Manns

18. Cowboy statue actor in front of Mann’s gets a second look.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Cowboy statue actor in front of Manns gets a second look

19. Woman in red in front of J.J. Newberry Co. and Frederick’s of Hollywood.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Woman in red in front of JJ Newberry Co and Fredericks of Hollywood

20. Woman pets a duck at photo booth in front of J.J. Newberry Co. She was in Annie Hall’s Heaven.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Woman pets a duck at photo booth in front of JJ Newberry Co She was in Annie Halls Heaven

21. A couple of older Hollywood residents take a stroll hand in hand.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 A couple of older Hollywood residents take a stroll hand in hand

22. Three sweet and tough chicas cruising Hollywood Boulevard.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Three sweet and tough chicas cruising Hollywood Boulevard

23. A graffiti artist for Jesus just off Hollywood Blvd.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 A graffiti artist for Jesus just off Hollywood Blvd

24. Waiting for the bus at the May Co at Wilshire and Fairfax.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Waiting for the bus at the May Co at Wilshire and Fairfax

25. Silverlake Fair from the laundromat.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Silverlake Fair from the laundromat

26. The Capitol building and Goodyear blimp at Hollywood and Vine.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 The Capitol building and Goodyear blimp at Hollywood and Vine

27. Sunset in late ‘70s over Hollywood in the LA smog, shot from Hollywood Hills.

Vintage Photos of Hollywood in 1979-1983 Sunset in late 70s over Hollywood in the LA smog, shot from Hollywood Hills

Share your thoughts about these photos of Hollywood and check out 1990s Photos of Street Gangs of Los Angeles, California [18+].

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There will be something about me. I'm too lazy now.

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