To Where I Came From (Part 1)
August 26th, 2006
the Houston airport:
I was up all night no sleep until the flight took off from Indiana. As the plane
rose up though the foggy morning I drifted off.
I finished my day job at the newspaper around 7
Id been assigned
to photograph a candidate for U.S. Congress. The most interesting part of it though
was talking to a man who runs the homeless shelter. He said the number of people
in need of shelter and assistance has been rising since the factory jobs have
been sent overseas. Many of the people his shelter helps arent unemployed
theyre employed full-time but the wages they are paid dont
cover their expenses.
about 5 p.m. I get this call from some kid and he says theyre going to protest
the Wal Mart for their labor practices. Evidently, the local university was taking
bus loads of kids for a midnight shopping spree. These activists are going to
stop the buses from delivering the students as a protest to Wal Marts labor
practices. He said he would call back later with the time and location.
running several errands I finally arrived home
exhausted. I begin to pack
but the phone rings again. Its a documentary filmmaker from Los Angeles
who wants to use some photos I made of a 1960s rock musician, Skip Spence. Skip
Spence was the original drummer from Jefferson Airplane. Sometime after he had
a falling out with Grace Slick who was their singer later on he struck out on
a solo career.
he was also a heavy user of LSD and all kinds of other drugs and the story goes
that one day he shows up for a recording session at Columbia records and goes
after his band mates with a pick axe. He was put in a mental institution for a
time and years later during the mid 1990s I photographed him panhandling in the
streets of San Jose, California. As he told a story about what a nice person Janice
Joplin was he would drift off into these strange delusional tangents
example he blamed the California drought on a disagreement with the rulers of
I finally finish talking to the filmmaker and the phone rings again. Im
told to meet these protesters at the entrance of Wal Mart at 10:30. The newspaper
where I work would like a photo. I park something like a quarter mile away because
I dont want to park on Wal Marts property
the fact I have to
park so far away and walk back to Wal Mart gives me an understanding of what sprawl
And, I still
have to pack for my trip to California.
kinds of signs in Porterville
arrive in San Diego and I find the Peoples Coop as I am waiting for my friend
who has gone over to the university to buy some books. Hes teasing me already
hes sort of a skinhead but were from the same town so were pretty
to understand that in Porterville, where we grew up, anybody what was different
was an outcast. And we were a certain sort of outcasts
the ones that dressed
sort of funny and listened to punk. In my case I dressed a little strange and
listened to punk and what would later be termed, alternative music.
I was also a skateboarder.
thats not how I met this friend, Steve, he actually lived down the street
from me for a little while
on Prospect Street and his dad was a cop.
I wouldnt really know him until high school. Steve and his friend were mostly
punks and there were a few skinheads.
last time I saw Steve was at a party and this was a while after hed got
out of rehab
where his dad had sent him after his girlfriend ratted him
out. Nice girl
back to now
its been about 15 years and now my friend has a real
job and hes a roommate with another punk who is also from our town. To put
it bluntly none of our parents had a whole lot money or power and thats
part of the reason we became punks I suppose.
and his roommate were part of a tighter group that would often have parties at
this other punk kid named Brads house and their mascot was a dead dog they
found in a creek running through our town. One time we even had a punk show
Plaid Retina played at the Porterville Community Center
but where we were,
we were so disenfranchised that even punk bands wouldnt play our town which
had a 25 percent poverty rate, a population that was too small and more dead per
capita in Vietnam than any other town in America.
yes, we were punks. Now we are old punks. Well, Steve is sort of a skinhead
but he listens to Crass too. I think he doesnt really give a shit what people
think of him. Thats why hes Steve.
Steve finally gets home. Im
sitting in his driveway eating some vegan mac and cheese from the Peoples
Coop in Ocean Beach, San Diego.
how do you eat that communist food, he asks. You know
that shit will kill you
you want some hotdogs?
been awhile and we talk about the states of affairs. Things arent looking
too good for America. Seems our parents generation has really gone and fucked
this one up. But, not our parents, because they never had any power to begin with.
maybe there is something to Anarchy
but we got day jobs
and bills to pay so I guess well see the Revolution on TV
theres not going to be any revolution and kids know it
why their singing about revolution by getting drunk, high and self destructing
its like the 1960s and 1970s all over again but with none of the
rainbow t-shirts and have a nice day
August 27th 2006
San Diego even the bums dont want pennies
dont need to see the bum throw the pennies on the ground to see which way
the wind blows.
never spent anytime in San Diego growing up out here in California. But, damn
does this feel like a foreign country. I was reading some Jack Kerouac on the
plane just to call up his spirit. I want him with me on this trip. Weve
got traveling to do.
read about his and deans picking up an Okie somewhere out in the desert
and taking him to Bakersfield. It makes me laugh. Then, I read his thoughts about
Robert Frank, Jack is one smart dude you know
he understands that documentary
photography is an art like jazz music:
lesson for any writer
to follow a photographer and look at what he shoots
I mean a great photographer, an artist
and how he does it. The result:
Whatever it is, its America. Its the American Road and it awakens
the eye every time, Jack Kerouac.
thanks jack, I needed that. Youre sure a lot nicer than Susan Sontag who
said documentary photography is dead and only exploits
but even she changed
her mind later on her deathbed.
youre right. Everyone out here does look like movie stars and
man do I feel alien here.
finally head down to the beach. San Diego. And I am walking around. Nobody makes
eye contact and they dont wave or say hello like they do out on those lonely
country roads in Indiana. No, they dont. And I am laughing now at the surf
shop selling surfboards, surf wear and crystals
the love and I am passing some homeless people over in front of the Subway reading
the headlines of the Los Angeles Times
what did drive the wife of a preacher to kill her husband out in Tennessee
man this world.
I can get to the Beach a man walks around the corner, hes obviously a bum
got change for a hamburger, he asks. And he makes this Namaste gesture like
hes the Dalai Lama and he smiles as his unwashed black hair float down over
I dont give spare change. There are lots of services to help the homeless
and I know theyre often just going to buy alcohol or drugs anyway. But,
Im like fuck it.
So I grab some change. A couple quarters, a dime
and some pennies.
grabs the change and walks off. Something tells me to turn around and I watch
as he picks out the quarters and the dime and throws down the pennies.
ha!!! In San Diego
even the bums dont want pennies and laughing I
take a photo of the pennies.
I walk out on the boardwalk and all the immigrants are fishing. Latinos, Vietnamese
one woman has the red star of some communist country I dont know
if its Vietnam or China. It reminds me of all my Vietnamese classmates growing
up out in California courtesy of the American governments war before I was
are a thousand fishing poles on the pier and I look down and there is someone
swimming which strikes me as strange because the tide is high and soon the water
will head back out into deeper places.
I am on the beach and a Mexican man looks over at me and asks,
newspaper are you from?
Mexican tells me he works on Mexican movies and but he also works as a construction
worker because he can make more money that way than in the movies. I guess Jack
Kerouac was right.
Mexican man goes on
here in San Diego, my own people dont
even say hello to me
but when I go home to Mexico everyone is hey man!
know what he means.
August 29, 2006
lies Darby C
. Thats what the quintessential LA punk was trying
to write as he died after an intentional Heroine overdose in 1980.
interesting to be up here in LA. I meet Jeremy
Jay who I will be photographing and we spend the better part of
two hours in his apartment taking photos. Then we go out of Pasadena and make
Jay is an underground musician and he lives in old Los Angeles
within minutes of Paramount studios. *
I was taking photos I shot a photoblog through the window of Jeremys Mercedes
some people walking in LA and some graffiti too.
Im going to meet my friend Shane Guffogg who used to assist for Ed Ruscha
and in preparing a solo show of painting for a solo show.
In October 07' Jeremy Hogan shot and directed Jeremy
Jay's video "Airwalker"
Here To View the Video.
More about Jeremy Hogan