Mark McDermott

Photos series explores every lifeguard tower along the Beach Cities  

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From Jeff Poe’s series, “Lifeguards of the Southbay.”

by Mark McDermott

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Every lifeguard tower in the South Bay has its own tribe. Many are multigenerational —  think of the volleyball crew at 16h Street in Hermosa or the legendary surfers of Hammerland.

Photographer Jeff Poe recently shot all the towers. He will show his work as a “Lifeguard Towers of the South Bay” series at Nikau Kai Surf Cafe in downtown Manhattan Beach, with an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday night.

“Basically I’m doing a new twist on South Bay lifeguard towers, from Second Street in Hermosa all the way up to Hammerland,” Poe said. “All different times of day, all different angles, new kinds of perspective.”

“It’s funny I’ve lived here a long time and you do take them for granted, kind of, but I’ve always been fascinated with them. I’ve had a couple [photographs] printed out for shows and people kept being drawn to them. ‘I wish you had this tower, I wish you had that tower.’ Every lifeguard tower has some sentimental value, mainly to locals — whether you play volleyball there, surf, BBQ, whatever it is, there is some street tower that stands out to each person.”

“Lifeguard towers of the Southbay” opens at Nikau Kau Cafe (1201 Highland Ave.” Dec. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event also features live music and drinks. For more information on Jeff Poe’s photography, see jeffpoephoto.com

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