Welcome To California
12.37pm, August 9, 2019, Los Angeles
i love LA tee shirts
liquor stores, freeways, parking lots.
grey blue skies, car crashes
and people alone in traffic concrete on concrete
full of mysterious moments
this is the city in alex prager’s world.
i know that city well.
I moved to LA when I was 17 and spent the next many years in parking lots and LA municipal school yards and sitting on curbs in Burbank or Koreatown or El Segundo skateboard-ing and shooting skateboarding with my friends.
We would live in the streets not just drive down them. We would see everything and meet everyone you never meet when ur driving by in your safety sealed 72 degree car. So much shit goes down on these streets. Sad stories, sketchy drug addled dreams, sweet grandmothers in their most stylish dresses waiting for the bus, a man drunk at 1 pm in a nice suit who has never been so happy as he is watching Mark Gonzales noseslide a rail. And we would meet many of them and hear their stories or sometimes just watch the shit go down. Arguments in the crosswalk and one of the men has two broken arms, a mother losing her shit on her kid, an artist stripped down to boxers painting a building-long mural hiddenfrom the cops in a dark alley...why is someone horseback riding down the street? Maybe it’s people who are living inside their own fantasy world that we are just visiting.
It’s an LA that has nothing to do with the expensively decorated offices of the agents and producers of Hollywood and nothing at all to do with fancy cars and restaurants for the glamourous. This LA has as much to do with the entertainment business as Phoenix or Dallas but it’s also really not like any other city. It has its own psychic temperature and goes on in run on sentences and seemingly infinitely in all directions with a seemingly infinite amount of differing lives being led.
This is the LA I always wanted to capture and when I started making music videos, it’s what I always gravitated back to. A tire shop off San Fernando Road becomes a dance fantasy for Bjork. A little girl in a back seat looking out the window watching a man on fire run down the street trying to catch his bus. People walking by on the sidewalk without any concern as a shattered dying robot tries futilely to stand. This was what LA felt like to me.
As soon as I saw Alex’s photos, I recognized that LA. It was the same one I loved. She had wandered around those streets too. I wanted to stay inside her photos, spying on stories and lives being led. The people in her world feel familiar to me, I think I saw some of them out of the corner of my eye. Maybe everyone in LA has that relationship to the city. We all look out the window of our car at it passing by like a movie. And maybe all of us have been the people out the window being looked at too. When I met Alex and she said she loved the way I shot LA, I was so happy and flattered. Because we love the same LA.