Alternative Processes

This month I started experimenting with different cameras, lenses and <gasp!> actual film. The march towards the elusive MFA continues, my course work this semester centering around experimental contemporary photography. It's pushing me to get out from behind the computer and literally get my hands dirty. Chemicals and plastic cameras, pinholes and processing times. I enjoy it. 

Our first project required us to use our camera phone to capture a series of images that would, as Vilem Flusser wrote, "work against the apparatus."  That is, bend this thing to my will as the photographer, rather than operating as a slave to its automatic functions.  Flusser's work "Towards a Philosophy of Photography" served as the basis of this exploration. It's a great read. 

My experiments took me to that strange and disorienting circus known as Santa Monica Blvd. It's my neighborhood, and I walk its streets all the time. I wanted to capture the feeling of the lights, the people, the traffic with nothing more than my iPhone and a few apps. 

This is what I got:

Jared Fortunato "Untitled Self-Portrait with Angel Wings" 2015

Jared Fortunato "Untitled Self-Portrait with Angel Wings" 2015

The apps I used for the project were amazing. If you're at all interested in iPhone photography, be sure to check them out. 

"Electron Salon"

I'm thrilled to have piece in the current "Electron Salon" at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.  The work is varied and the space allows for emerging talent, and for that, I'm grateful. I've also managed to get myself included among their represented artists, which for me is a real milestone in this grand adventure. One of the things I love about Los Angeles is that it really is a place were crazy ideas and fantastical dreams coexist with the gritty pavement of reality. 

People work their dreams here, and what seemed "unrealistic" months ago feels like everyday life here in this city of Angels. It feels nice: to be among fellow denizens of the craft. Those with their must tell stories and their heart pounding hopes. It feels like home.

Come out to the show if you're in the area. Or just come to LA anyway. You'll have a good time.

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art: Electron Salon and Top 40 Juried Competition Winners
Exhibit Dates: June 11-July 3, 2015
Artists' Reception: Saturday, June 13, 6-9pm

104 E. 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA  90013 

Top Ten things I’ve Learned After One Month of Living in LA

10. You can get good coffee here.

Coming from the Bay Area, I was skeptical. I didn’t think you could find decent coffee anywhere but in the sturdy <heath> mugs of the Bay Area’s finest establishments. Find the subtle sweetness of a Blue Bottle latte here in the Southland? Good luck. Partake in a cup as lovingly prepared as those at Sight Glass? Never.

I figured I’d savor those little luxuries on trips back to San Francisco and get used to swilling Starbucks out of cardboard. But I was wrong. There is good coffee here. And food. And wine. There is actually a pretty robust foodie scene--that’s not afraid to take risks and that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

9. People take public transportation (and it works!)

Biggest shocker: LA public transportation. I’ve made a number of runs so far and have been pleasantly surprised. Longer trips can take some time--don’t get me wrong, but the system works. And it’s pretty convenient. It’s easy to use, frequent, and not a terrible way to get around if you’re in a one-car household (like mine). And when that fails, uber’s responsive here, too. Go figure.

It's everything you'd think it would be--and more.

It's everything you'd think it would be--and more.

8. Traffic is bad, but not impossible.

Yes. It sucks sometimes. And yes, the lines of cars waiting at intersections can cause panic. But the legends are true. There are secret ways to outwit the traffic monsters. They include: ample use of surface and side streets, avoiding the left-turn altogether (do this by boldly executing U-turns past the intersection and coming around to the right) and moving confidently into intersections on the yellow if avoiding a left turn proves impossible. It’s an art. It’s a craft. It’s a game of skill and strategy. And you, smart-phone wielding driver, have powers (and apps) to guide you.

It's just like a video game, but you're behind the wheel!

It's just like a video game, but you're behind the wheel!

7. People are friendly—mostly.

I’m not in business with them, auditioning against them, or trying to date them, which makes this assessment a little shallow. I don’t have any real data except for the consistency of pleasant exchanges while carrying on my day-to-day. And that has been a great surprise.

From dining at one of our fine establishments or checking out at the local Whole Foods, I’ve found the interpersonal communication friendly, open and genuinely engaging. (Yes, I’m looking at you 3rd and Harrison Street Whole Foods: You’re. The. Worst.) People will often respond with actual eye contact and coherent sentences in those awkward moments of forced public intimacy (like in a cramped parking garage elevator, for example) and that has been very refreshing.

6. The climate is (I mean WAS) amazing.

It isn’t this week. It is hot. Very hot. Stiflingly hot. Like living under a broiler hot. When it’s not hot, which is (lately) never, it is beautiful. Shorts and t-shirt weather all the time.

It's like 100 degrees out here right now. I could roll a bowling ball down the center of this park right now.

It's like 100 degrees out here right now. I could roll a bowling ball down the center of this park right now.

5. There are a ridiculous amount of juice bars in my neighborhood.

Maybe it’s an artifact of my West Hollywood location, I don’t know. There is seriously a juice bar on every other corner. It’s like that line in “Best in Show” when Piper Posey says she met her husband at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks, but the one across the street. It’s ludicrous. How much juice does a city need to drink? How do they all stay in business? Where does all this juice come from? Mysteries.

4. The city is HUGE.

Duh. But it really is. No weekend visit or circuit party fly by can prepare you for its sheer immensity. It’s gigantic. From Downtown to Santa Monica, Long Beach to the Valley—(not technically, I know, all “Los Angeles”)—there exists a massive and incredibly diverse urban and semi-suburban megalopolis. Streets, neighborhoods, cities within cities: it’s vast, teeming and almost overwhelming.

3. People here love their dogs.

San Franciscans love their dogs, too. And this place takes it to a whole new level. Service dog regulations are flouted with as much impunity as anywhere in the Bay Area. Dogs are everywhere—on the sidewalk, at the table next to you, in the arms of that girl buying lipstick at the Bloomingdales. And I have to say dog lovers here spend as much on pampering and protecting their pups as any of their Bay Area counterpoints. For every juice bar and smoothie place (see above) there are almost as many doggie day spas and organic dog food spots vying for your pooch-loving dollar.

2. I’m developing a serious addiction to the Yogurt Stop.

Here’s how it goes: ask for a small sample cup, try out all of the artificially sweetened low-fat dairy “products” on offer, and then pump small mounds of your favorites into a gigantic paper bowl. Then proceed to the “toppings” bar and douse the whole thing in sugar free hot fudge sauce and candy mm’s (not the peanut) and a teaspoon’s worth of crushed heath-bar (to limit the calories). Pay at the weigh-in station, find a spot out front and enjoy.

Maybe it’s the sidewalk seating, the hot evening air, or the ridiculously sexualized logo—I’m not sure. All I know is I practically ignored these places in SF. Now, this place knows my name.

There's free parking in the rear. I swear it says that.&nbsp;

There's free parking in the rear. I swear it says that. 

And here it is, the number one thing I’ve learned from one month in living in LA.

1. I miss my friends. Terribly.