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Jeremy Hogan

Back To Where I Came From (Part 1)

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

From the Houston airport:

Well, 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.

Yesterday I finished my day job at the newspaper around 7 … I’d 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 aren’t unemployed … they’re employed full-time but the wages they are paid don’t cover their expenses.

So, about 5 p.m. I get this call from some kid and he says they’re 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 Mart’s labor practices. He said he would call back later with the time and location.

After running several errands I finally arrived home … exhausted. I begin to pack but the phone rings again. It’s 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.

However, 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 … for example he blamed the California drought on a disagreement with the rulers of Jupiter …

So, I finally finish talking to the filmmaker and the phone rings again. I’m 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 don’t want to park on Wal Mart’s property … the fact I have to park so far away and walk back to Wal Mart gives me an understanding of what sprawl means.

And, I still have to pack for my trip to California.

Part II

Three kinds of signs in Porterville …
I arrive in San Diego and I find the People’s Coop as I am waiting for my friend who has gone over to the university to buy some books. He’s teasing me already … he’s sort of a skinhead but were from the same town so were pretty tight.

You have 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.

But that’s 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.

However, I wouldn’t really know him until high school. Steve and his friend were mostly punks and there were a few skinheads.

Anyway, last time I saw Steve was at a party and this was a while after he’d got out of rehab … where his dad had sent him after his girlfriend ratted him out. Nice girl …

So, back to now … it’s been about 15 years and now my friend has a real job and he’s 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 that’s part of the reason we became punks I suppose.

Steve and his roommate were part of a tighter group that would often have parties at this other punk kid named Brad’s 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 wouldn’t 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.

So, 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 doesn’t really give a shit what people think of him. That’s why he’s Steve.
Steve finally gets home. I’m sitting in his driveway eating some vegan mac and cheese from the People’s Coop in Ocean Beach, San Diego.

“Hey, Hogan … how do you eat that communist food,” he asks. “You know that shit will kill you … you want some hotdogs?”

It’s been awhile and we talk about the states of affairs. Things aren’t looking too good for America. Seems our parent’s generation has really gone and fucked this one up. But, not our parents, because they never had any power to begin with. We agree … maybe there is something to Anarchy … but we got day jobs and bills to pay so I guess we’ll see the Revolution on TV … nah … there’s not going to be any revolution and kids know it … that’s why their singing about revolution by getting drunk, high and self destructing … it’s like the 1960s and 1970s all over again but with none of the rainbow t-shirts and have a nice day … whatever.

Sunday August 27th 2006

In San Diego even the bums don’t want pennies …

You don’t need to see the bum throw the pennies on the ground to see which way the wind blows.

I 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. We’ve got traveling to do.

I read about his and dean’s 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:

“A 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, it’s America. It’s the American Road and it awakens the eye every time,” Jack Kerouac.

Hey thanks jack, I needed that. You’re 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.

So, Jack … you’re right. Everyone out here does look like movie stars and man do I feel alien here.

I finally head down to the beach. San Diego. And I am walking around. Nobody makes eye contact and they don’t wave or say hello like they do out on those lonely country roads in Indiana. No, they don’t. And I am laughing now at the surf shop selling surfboards, surf wear and crystals … ha, ha!

Where’s the love and I am passing some homeless people over in front of the Subway reading the headlines of the Los Angeles Times …so what did drive the wife of a preacher to kill her husband out in Tennessee… man this world.

Before I can get to the Beach a man walks around the corner, he’s obviously a “bum” … here’s why:

“Hey got change for a hamburger,” he asks. And he makes this Namaste gesture like he’s the Dalai Lama and he smiles as his unwashed black hair float down over his eyes.

Usually, I don’t give spare change. There are lots of services to help the homeless and I know they’re often just going to buy alcohol or drugs anyway. But, I’m like fuck it. … So I grab some change. A couple quarters, a dime and some pennies.

He 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, ha!!! In San Diego … even the bums don’t want pennies and laughing I take a photo of the pennies.

Finally, 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 don’t know if it’s Vietnam or China. It reminds me of all my Vietnamese classmates growing up out in California courtesy of the American government’s war before I was born.

There 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.

Finally, I am on the beach and a Mexican man looks over at me and asks, … “What newspaper are you from?”

The 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.

The Mexican man goes on … “ here in San Diego, my own people don’t even say hello to me … but when I go home to Mexico everyone is hey man!”

I know what he means.

Monday August 29, 2006

Los Angeles …

“Here lies Darby C….” That’s what the quintessential LA punk was trying to write as he died after an intentional Heroine overdose in 1980.

It’s 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 some more.

Jeremy Jay is an underground musician and he lives in old Los Angeles within minutes of Paramount studios. *

While I was taking photos I shot a photoblog through the window of Jeremy’s Mercedes …

This is LA … some people walking in LA and some graffiti too.

Tomorrow, I’m 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" Click Here To View the Video.



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