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2010 Downtown library research for stay cool

 

IN 2010, instagram was launched. year one of Instagram. since then it has changed the way people make and consume images. it's a great way to condition yourself to develop your own personal universe. It is like this and like that. I wanted to see the world differently. I knew i wanted to make something. While in China on a job, with the lack of internet service i read the whole steve jobs book. There was one quote that he said that really stuck with me, "Chase ugliness away." He wanted to do this with the products he made. I wanted to do this images. I began searching and searching with very little luck. pinterest. tumblr. instagram. no luck. nothing seemed to move me. i didn't feel like any of the images online were chasing ugliness away they seemed to just be adding to it.

IT was the day OF THE ACADEMY AWARDS IN LA. DURING THAT WEEK THE WHOLE CITY APPEARS TO have an electricity in the air. at breakfast, a friend and i discussed who was gonna when best picture that night. he thought hurt locker. Not a chance. It ended up winning. We wrapped up dinner and walked back to my car. on my car a BOOK was on the roof by the driver's door. I looked around. who put this here? IS this for me? it has a little la public library sticker on the back cover. This made me feel sad. If it was just another book I would have put it on another car IT WAS A COPY OF SHOELESS JOE. THE MOVIE FIELD OF DREAMS IS BASED OFf of, WHICH I DIDN'T KNOW AT THE TIME. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW IT GOT THERE. My friend also confused. LATER THAT AFTERNOON I ENDED UP READING IT IN ONE SITTING. I NOTICED THAT IT WAS FROM THE DOWNTOWN LA LIBRARY BECAUSE OF THE BARCODE ON THE BACK SO I DECIDED TO RETURN IT THAT NIGHT. THE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY ISN'T THAT INSPIRING. IT HAS WEIRD SMELLS AND AN EXTRA LAYER OF DUSK. SEEMS LIKE SOMEONE IS ALWAYS MISSING A SHOE. THE SECURITY GUARD SEEMS WORN DOWN. I'VE ALWAYS LOVED LIBRARIES. WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE STUDYING MATHEMATICS AND BIOLOGY I WOULD LIVE THERE. IT was a zen garden. It GOT ME AWAY FROM MY LOUD ROOMMATES THAT I SHARED WALLS WITH. CALCULUS 3 IS HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT LOUD ROOMMATES. AS I WAS ABOUT TO RETURN MY COPY OF SHOELESS JOE SOMEONE ELSE WAS RETURNING THEIR COPY OF A HELMUT NEWTON BOOK. THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY PHOTO BOOK THAT MY COLLEGE HAD 10 YEARS EARLIER. I RETURNED MY COPY OF SHOELESS AND WANTED TO SEE WHAT OTHER BOOKS THEY HAD. AFTER NAVIGATING THE COMPUTER THAT WAS 20 YEARS OLD I HEADED UP STAIRS TO THE PHOTO SECTION. ENTERING THAT FLOOR OF THE LIBRARY SEEMED DIFFERENT. IT SEEMED CALM AND QUIET. nobody appeared to be missing a shoe. The photo books were in the back. It felt like I was GLIDING to them. I FOUND THE ROWS AND ROWS OF BOOKS. IT SEEMED LIKE IT WENT ON FOREVER. I spent all night there until they kicked me out when they were closing. I didn't mind missing the academy awards. THE very NEXT MORNING I CAME BACK. I had change for the photo copy machine and Florensce tabs to marked pages that I wanted to copy. I LOOKED THROUGH EVERY PHOTO BOOK IN THE WHOLE LIBRARY. I THINK I TRIED TO COUNT. IT WAS SOMETHING LIKE 40,000. I WENT THORUGH EVERY PAGE AND EVERY BOOK TO MINE THE GEMS. I PUT LITTLE TABS ON IMAGES I LIKED AND THEN I WOULD PHOTOCOPY THEM. I ALWAYS HAD TO BRING THEM CHANGE BECAUSE IT STILL ONLY TOOK THOSE OLD THINGS. 

 

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THE WHOLE PROCESS TOOK ABOUT 4 MONTHS. I WENT ALMOST EVERYDAY. I LOVED IT. I WOULD BE THERE TIL THIS DAY BUT I RAN OUT OF BOOKS TO LOOK AT. I WALKED AWAY WITH ABOUT 1,000 PHOTOS THAT I REALLY loved. They felt really important. I LEARNED ABOUT A MILLION THINGS from them and from the experience.

one example is how FABRICATED IMAGES DON'T WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME. I think it has to do with niche ideas of each time period. second example of images that dont hold up are images that have to do RETNAL VARIABLES LIKE LIGHT, COLOR, COMPOSITION, LENSING, ETC. OR ABOUT CELEBRITY. I WASN'T INSPIRED BY THESE IMAGES. TO ME THE BEST IMAGES ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE SOMETHING INTERESTING HAPPENING. Makes me think of the ecstatic moment. THEY ALSO HAVE TO SHOW ME SOMETHING I'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE OR HAVE KNOWN OF. Isn't THIS THE FUNDAMENTAL REASON WHY PHOTOGRAPHY EXISTS?

THESE 40,000 BOOKS AND THE 1,000 PIECES OF GOLD THAT THEY HELD BECAME THE INSPIRATION AND FORCE BEHIND MY NEXT PHOTO BOOK: STAY COOL. I STARTED SHOOTING IT LATER THAT YEAR AND THEN COMPLETED IT THE FOLLOWING YEAR IN 2011. I THINK THE IMAGES FOR STAY COOL ARE COMPELLING FOR THAT POINT OF TIME IN MY LIFE. HOPEFULLY THEY WILL WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME AND IF THEY DON'T THATS OKAY TOO. I'll never stop searching and never stop chasing ugliness away.  THANKs SHOELESS JOE.