ANTHONY WILSON is a guitarist and composer and a native Angeleno, who has always dug deep into his creative reserves to ask big questions and explore new territory. I’m deeply impressed by his fluidity and openness to the blind curves of creativity.
Anthony Wilson taking CicLAvia Break at Union Station
For his new work, Songs and Photographs, Wilson created an “album” in the purest sense: A collection of musical compositions and photographs meant to be taken as a whole and that travel across space and through moods.
I reviewed the collection for KPCC’s The Frame. As well, you can read the text, which went up on here on LAist this week.
Wilson will be performing this Monday evening. For more information and reservations, click here.
A LITTLE over a week ago, I received word that a collaborator, confidant and friend Carolyn Kozo Cole had passed away. Carolyn was the head of the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection for nearly 20 years and through her creativity, focus and imagination she was able to help us all see Los Angeles in a more complete and inclusive way.
from LAPL’S Shades of L.A. Collection
I met Carolyn in the early 90s when I arrived at one of the branch libraries in South Los Angeles do a story for L.A. Style magazine on the then-nascent photo collection project, “Shades of L.A.” “Shades” was Carolyn’s brainchild: Her plan set-in-motion was to collect snapshots from diverse family albums from across the Southland to fill in the library’s holdings. This she knew would mean an active search for images that would tell us a deeper and more complex story about the region — photos beyond ribbon cuttings, and landmark buildings and new parkways.
The photo below, of a garden wedding in Watts has stayed with me for decades now. It is from the book, Shades of L.A. a brief compendium that samples some of the project’s key finds. This photo is meaningful because in certain ways it was the very absence of quotidian images like this that sent Carolyn on her journey. “What did Watts look like before the uprisings of 1965? The houses, the streets, the businesses?” “How and where did people celebrate milestone moments in their lives?” she wondered. The library didn’t have anything beyond a photo of the old railroad depot. Surely there was more. Those, she realized, would be part of family collections. They would be the photographs that chronicled the everyday.
I wrote an appreciation about Carolyn that will appear in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times you can read it here online.
I miss her emailed anecdotes and her phone calls and her little stack of special finds just for me. But every time I happen upon a photo like the one above from the online Shades archive, I know that she has truly given us so much that we will be using to understand Los Angeles and tell better stories about it for generations to come.
On Saturday night – July 7 – I’ll be in conversation with Kevin McCollister (@eastofwestla), discussing his work documenting Los Angeles. We’ll be at HELMS BAKERY. 8800 Venice Boulevard (entrance on Washington Blvd.) 7:30pm. Please join us.
It’s here…My new book, ”After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame,” on Angel City Press, is making its way out into the world. It’s a collection of essays and photographs examining sense-of-place and the ever-evolving identity of the City of Angels.
I’ll be doing readings next month at Skylight Books (3/18), Eso Won Bookstore (3/19) and Vroman’s Bookstore (3/22). I will also be at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books April 21 & 22. Please stay tuned for details.
And if you are away from L.A., here’ where you can purchase directly from Angel City Press.
A DEEPLY involving and bittersweet presentation at #LAPL’s Central Library on Saturday afternoon. Annie Laskey and her mother Marlene hatched a plan to walk the stretch of Wilshire Boulevard from its downtown high-rises and mid-town department stores to the edges of the sea. Annie mentioned that the thrill at first was less about the walk and more about getting to operate the Minolta SLR. Annie shot and Marlene made note (see the notebook in the grid below). While Marlene and many of the iconic locations that the Laskeys recorded are no longer with us, the absences were filled with vivid stories. Grateful for the Laskeys and their. sticktoitiveness Hundreds of sites have now been preserved on Kodachrome slides. The Wilshire Boulevard — the Carnation Building, Mutual of Omaha, Ambassador Hotel– that still exists in my head flickered to life with her stories. You can glimpse 100 of those images in a new book, “The Wilshire Slides 1978–1979” put out through LAPL’s Photo Collection and Photo Friends the nonprofit organization formed to support & promote the collection.
THIS SUNDAY DRIVE was both spur of the moment and serendipitous. I’ve been curious about the artist Shrine’s magical compound. There was an open studio event in the SGV on Sunday and I got lost in the details, in the best possible way.
I’m still floating on the mood.
YOU DON’T Have to drive too far for Spring’s Super Bloom. This hill all ablaze is located in Griffith Park. Don’t miss it!
PLEASE JOIN us tonight at The Last Bookstore for Boom California’s Winter Reading. Details here. We will be discussing the great Golden State.
I SPENT a little time a few weeks ago interviewing photographer Warren Hill for show he was preparing for featuring his work celebrating community organizing and the power of collective voices.
Though it is visual representation of community building, Hill’s work is at its core about listening: Getting to know a place is about getting to know the people who inhabit it, who have shaped and tended it when others have looked away.
To really see Los Angeles — its many working parts, its vivid tapestry — starts with listening.
As I mentioned in my remarks on Saturday afternoon: “His lens asks open-ended, ‘how-and-why’ questions that allow his subjects the space to fill in the frame. He’s not imposing a narrative but allowing his subject’s the space to articulate delicate shadings and implications of their own situation.”
Hill will be at the Central Library Wednesday afternoon talking about his work for Photographer’s Eye: “Power and Persistence: Grassroots Activists and Musicians in L.A.” Click here for more information.
You can see the photographs in person until June 26th Venice Arts.
It’s been quiet around these parts because I gave myself a deadline on three rather big projects. Lots of looking, thinking, writing and revision.
Turning a corner and the details of landscapes are coming into view, so should be back to a regular rhythm of posting soon.
I’m enjoying the season shift.