Los Angeles


Third trip back out here in the recent months  

The 16mm film project that started on the road back in July from Texas to Los Angeles is coming along nicely 

Have exposed close to 30 rolls now

Strange being here as a visitor, having been living in Texas for a couple of years now, but it's given me an unexpected and very useful 'outsider's perspective'  

I know this city so well - moved here from Orange County, just a bit down the freeway, in 1991

Have lived all over the city throughout the years  

Have skateboarded here, became a skateboard company owner, an actor, photographer, director 

I have favorite areas, and restaurants, and times of day and times of the year  

Incredibly special city, and while I don't perhaps feel I could live here again, it feels in some ways that I appreciate it differently  

Photographically it's remarkable - downtown, the outskirts of downtown, Boyle Heights, the deep Valley, the industry, the abandoned and the hanging on. And the people 

It's all at once filthy and presented 

Almost overwhelmingly exciting 

There's both a buzzing energy here and a strange calmness; for how chaotic it may seem, it's surprisingly settled. And much more cinematic than I remember while being here. I suppose we have a tendency to get used to things 

Don't much prefer the west side, but Santa Monica and Venice are always a treat for roaming and documenting 

And even in Beverly Hills, where downtown LA is probably considered some far-off land somewhere 'out there,' there are stories  

And slivers of the past that remain standing, and its own imperfections and oddities that provide those necessary environmental contrasts  

Perhaps the recent travels around Texas for the forthcoming book A PLAIN VIEW opened me up even more to environment in general (the Texas road trips were specifically and only for photography, and only in one place and at one time, and so I was more actively aware and plugged in to my surroundings) 

And I think I brought some of that with me here  

Don't think I've ever before, while living here, been so moved to continue documenting this city, day in and day out  

I've exposed a lot of film here over the years, but now the city feels more like a photographic platform or backdrop; like a project; something that I need to document

I'm motivated to work here 

And having the Bolex movie camera and working with it each day as I search and search this Los Angeles for things to imprint on my film has certainly given me a new and different sense of exploration, of excitement 

The people, the architecture, the sounds and smells, the differences and similarities, the consistencies and inconsistencies, one stretch to another 

But mostly its beautiful flaws  

And its oddities 

And its unmatched character  

And all the while snapping photos with the Contax G2 I have on the trip (the photograph above was made here in downtown recently with that camera and one of my favorite color films - Fujicolor C200)

A magical and undeniably unique city that I feel both forever connected to and strangely withdrawn from 

But I think it's this withdrawnness, and this resultant newfound objectivity to it that has allowed me to pay more attention to it

It's nice filming skatboarders, too, and to have ridden a board last night. It's been a privilege filming so many great talents and personalities, all of them unique in their own way, just as the various shapes and shades of this city

Everyone has a place here  

Looking forward to fiishing filming and starting to put the pieces together 

2018 Release  


Jason Lee2 Comments