Friday, April 10, 2009
Patrick Ecclesine: Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeleno Patrick Ecclesine’s work captures the hopes and aspirations of a city built on its dreams
Taking It To The People
Ecclesine is a people person. He’s friendly and übercharming, and his approachability shows in his work. Almost all of the portraits in the book are taken on the street, yet Ecclesine’s subjects divulge an openness about themselves and their lives, which usually is reserved for an intimate studio shoot. He knows how to work people because people, more than anything else, fascinate him.
An important aspect of the book for Ecclesine was to pair each image with a quote from the subject. As he was shooting, he’d have a dialogue with his subject, recording the conversation and transcribing it later. From that, he’d cull the most interesting snippets that would really define the inner dialogue of the person. By adding these quotes, the images portray much more than the stereotypical Los Angeles resident that people think of when they talk about L.A.
“I’d just try to find out what it was that was interesting or individual about that person in the sense that everyone is coming at life from a different perspective and reality,” explains Ecclesine. “I’d interview people and really talk to them. [I’d ask] a lot of personal questions, about family, about their life, the way they saw life, what their goals were, their dreams—a lot of dreams because the book is about dreams. I want to understand how people see the world. That’s what I was trying to get—a glimpse into the subject’s interior landscape that would accompany the photograph and enrich it so you could look at the picture and move past your own subjective judgments by reading and going into the person’s mind a bit.
“People are the most interesting to me,” he continues, “because everybody is different, everybody is unique, everybody has their own point of view. I’m always interested in why somebody does what it is that they do, what motivates them to continue to go through their life. You know it’s hard out there for everybody, and everyone has their different reasons, whether it’s their families, or they’re running from something, or they’re looking for something better. I think maybe if my photography can help reveal some of that, then I’m successful.
The network said they wanted Sports Illustrated-quality images. I spontaneously blurted, ‘I can do it!’”“L.A. really is a microcosm of the world,” he notes about his obsession with Los Angeles portraiture, in particular, “in the sense that you have every single race, religion and different type of person living here. And I think that’s the thing that sort of unites the people from the rich end and the poor end. And the fact that people aren’t running around the streets killing each other in L.A. may be because of the tolerance—because even though that person over there may not look at all like me, and we may not have anything to say to each other, I know that person is here in L.A. to live the life of their dreams, whether it’s their family, or their career, or whatever it is, and I’m here to do mine.”
Faces of Sunset Boulevard is available now, and has received great response, with long-running exhibits at L.A. City Hall, Berlin City Hall and ArcLight Hollywood, one of the most popular movie theaters in Los Angeles. Ecclesine is satisfied with the book, but he’s not stopping. “I’m trying to figure out how to get the publishers to pay for a book on Route 66. I feel like that would be the logical progression of things. So we’ll see.”
To see more work by Patrick Ecclesine, visit www.ecclesine.com.
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