I happened to see a social media post by Aline Smithson yesterday around noon about her leading a talk with Jason Lee discussing his new book "A PLAIN VIEW" at Arcana bookstore in Culver City, California last evening so I decided to head up for it and I am glad I did.
First and foremost, I must admit that I am embarrassed I had not heard about Arcana before yesterday, their inventory and space is amazing. Great current titles and some amazing out of print books that I have only heard about before. Good people there too. The old Helms Bakery District is at 8675 Washington Blvd, and the Art Deco buildings are fantastic.
I am an Aline Smithson fan, I love what she does with Lenscratch, I respect her own photography, I am jealous of how much energy & passion she has for the medium of photography, and I like her as a person. Others have the same opinion for sure because I couldn't even work my way in to say hello to her with everyone surrounding and talking to her.
Jason Lee is a photographer, actor, producer, and director who grew up in Huntington Beach. As an actor he is probably best known for playing Earl in the television show "My Name is Earl". Jason was a professional skateboarder in late 80's and early 90's, and still is a presence in the industry as a co-owner of Stereo Skateboards. Jason began photographing seriously in 2002 and prefers to use a 4x5 Speed Graphic view camera with outdated color or black and white film. Jason's latest book, "A PLAIN VIEW", documents his travels throughout Texas in 2017. He spent 25 days, between January and April, on a series of dedicated road trips to document the rural landscapes of small Texas towns. The book was just released through Film Photographic, which is an Instagram community page for photographers using film and also now a photography publishing platform. Jason founded Film Photographic in 2015, shortly after he moved to Texas, and this book is their first published work.
Jason told us his photography is inspired by people like Cinematographer Robby Müller and David Byrne, specifically Byrne's 1986 film "True Stories". He also added that Photographer William Christenberry was one of his heroes. Jason said he is drawn to the emptiness of the Texas landscape and that he developed a real love for that emptiness. He said the Texas landscape reminded him of the backdrops of his favorite movies. The out of date film Jason uses can produces color shifts and I think that works well with his images. The quality of the printing of the book is very good and Jason explained he was involved throughout the printing process. I definitely could see the parallels between Jason's photographs and the cinematographic styles he likes, and he has a number of good images in the book. For what the book is I thought the $100 price point was too high, so I passed on it and picked up a couple other books instead. I am glad I went and became familiar with Jason's work, he definitely has a passion for the medium and I do like some of his images.
Again, I can't say enough about Arcana, so many treasures in that place.