I took a long walk through Koreatown today and was super inspired by all the amazing signage. This place is a goldmine for vintage design. It reminds me of a funny Tim Siedell tweet about how nice it was to be back in LA; how the strip malls are beautiful this time of year. While hilarious, for photographers like me who are influenced by Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, it's also true.
I visited the Salton Sea in late March on my way back from spring training in Arizona. I've been intrigued with the area since I first saw Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea, an offbeat documentary narrated by John Waters. My first stop was Salvation Mountain, a candy-colored, Jesus-inspired, desert folk installation painted by local resident Leonard Knight over the course of 25 years. Knight passed away in 2014 but his technicolor vision lives on.
"We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not." - Joan Didion
I'm constantly going through old work because I like finding things that I once overlooked, only to discover there was something interesting in the first place. It works both ways, though. Pretty much everything I thought was cool a decade ago really doesn't hold up anymore, hence why I'm always deleting old photos from my site in the middle of the night. I look at something and cringe and suddenly I'm questioning why I liked it in the first place. Perhaps I'll change my mind a few more times before all's said and done.
This outtake from a few summers ago is the perfect example. I don't know why I didn't like it at the time; maybe it's not sharp enough, or the lighting is too harsh in the top-right corner of the frame. Perhaps I just liked other photos from the session better.
But this morning I was trying to find something and when I opened Lightroom, this was the first thing I saw, and it caused me to pull back for a second and think.
It's so cinematic, so full of mystery. I don't know. The mind works in funny ways.
So I submitted my first TV pilot to Amazon Studios last week. It's not the script I came down here to pitch (that still needs some polishing) but rather something I pivoted to in early March. I'm really proud of the story and think, with the right nurturing, that it could be a huge hit. More importantly, I think it's bold and original. I realize getting a script optioned in this town is like hitting the lottery (especially one that isn't superhero or zombie related) but, who knows? Maybe I played the right numbers this time. In the meantime, I've already started research on another series and plan to have a first draft knocked out in the next two weeks. We'll see how that goes.
German director Wim Wenders is best known for his beautifully desolate 1984 cult film, Paris, Texas, as well as art-house classics like Wings of Desire and Buena Vista Social Club. But I've always admired his still photos, which possess many of the same enigmatic and existential qualities. (Most were taken on set or while location scouting.) Wenders' abandoned, dusty roads and lonely landscapes invoke a nostalgia for a fading America; even when subjects are in the frame, they're staring off into the distance, dislocated from time and place. Check out a curated selection of my favorites here. (Photo © Wim Wenders)
The week in photos.