Saturday, July 21, 2007

Most Whacked Out Photo Blog Ever and David Strick

World Famous Photo Reporter is the name of the blog. Take a look and you'll see why it is MWOPBE. Authored by photographer J.J. Stratford, it looks like nothing you've seen before. Is it a video game? Can I get to the next level? With popular photo blogs by super talented photographers featuring kinda heavy stuff like "Friday Poem", World Famous Photo Reporter creates a blog for ...well...the rest of us: the overstimulated masses.
None the less, it won me over when it highlighted this book I was totally into in the late 80's, forgot about until 2005, and then rediscovered : Our Hollywood by David Strick. I bought a copy, long since gone out of print, for a bunch of money while I was working on Sex Machines...I wanted to really study it and remember why I liked it....possibly steal some ideas from it. I recall being moved by the foreword, written by Bret Easton Ellis, but I didn't know why.
Strick's photographs are simple on the surface: street-photography in style, made up of oddball looks at the surreal juxtapositions that can be found backstage and on the streets of Hollywood. After reading the essay, you realize that this is more personal territory for Strick. He grew up in Hollywood to parents who were deep in the Hollywood everything. In the foreword, Ellis reports " One of Strick's favorite memories of childhood in Hollywood will always be hearing Rona Barrett report his parents' divorce proceedings on live television." When I first read that line, it struck me as immediately humorous, and then really really tragic.
In Our Hollywood, as the book is winding down, is a picture that is the reminder to the reader that Strick's story is his own. His view of Hollywood, it's emptiness and desperation, at first funny as you leaf through the book at the bookstore, strikes you as menacing...almost heartbreaking once you get the book home and live with it. People using people, people losing their internal compass, people not knowing what they want out of life and realizing their disappointment and confusion. Page 92, A divorce attorney with a cigar and smile, laughs demonically behind his desk. He is contorted and smug. He's seems to be laughing at all of the nonsense in the book, but then seems a bit more nefarious as well. Make a deal with the he is. I was never able to look at Strick's work with the same levity after that. It's not as powerful out of context, but here is the shot:


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