Walk of Fame

Very excited to have my first poem published in LILA magazine.

I'm taking a "creative writing" course this summer, part of the never ending MFA program. Inspired by the city I decided to write my first poem about the streets of Hollywood. One of our course assignments was to find a literary journal and submit our poem.

I found the good folks at LILA, who graciously accepted my poem, and requested an image to boot. How's that for working out fine.

Up next is creative "flash" or short fiction, less than 500-750 words. I finished a few pieces and yes, I need to submit those as well (one thing about the Academy, they force you to put yourself out there.)

Again, the shorts are about Hollywood.

Hooray for Hollywood

Some places exist beyond the physical confines of their geography. They exist in the mind, in the spirit. They have a soul. There are streets I walk that tell their stories: of the history they experienced. Their heartaches. Their triumphs. Their dreams. 

Last month, I started walking around Hollywood. I’ve never spent much time there. I didn’t like the dirt. It’s gritty. The star-studded streets, steam cleaned every morning, reek of humanity and its attended smells. Costumed performers hustle on the sidewalk, rubbing elbows with missionaries and misfits. Buses belch forth hordes of camera toting tourists, who wander bewildered through its streets like survivors of a plague. It’s the place of dreams and nightmares, and on its streets I believe in angels and demons. I love it. I hate it. I record it like an obsession.

The concept for this is Hollywood: The place, the idea, the state of being. Using my Diana camera and the technique of double exposures, I walk the streets of this Oz in search of my own Wizard, and embrace the temporal and psychological distortion that comes with ingesting the heady concoction of promise and despair. 

My intent is to explore the mundane details, the “slightest of subjects*” that reveal the soul of this place. These images document the hallucination that is Hollywood: the place where the streets have eyes and where the stars are at your feet instead of the sky, the place where people fall prostrate on their knees worshiping idols, the city of silver masks and impenetrable isolation. It’s a place of incredible spirituality, and of incredible beauty. It intoxicates. 

These images were captured over a series of weeks at different times of the day. The in-between times, dusk and dawn. The times when the soft Southern California light wraps its velvet smooth arms around me and seems to whisper its siren call. Walking through Hollywood, I believe I have it all. I divorce my senses and surrender to the trip. For a minute, I almost believe. Then I feel the yearning maw of millions of unfulfilled dreams. And I shoot.  

*Cotton, Charlotte. "Something and Nothing." The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. 114-36. Print

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