Sallie Harrison, LA based UI designer and photographer, infects her work with a tonal simplicity that is characteristically LA. If you’ve ever been to LA, it’s got almost none of the beauty any magazine cover would allude to. However, what it lacks in beauty, the city makes up for in a unique and again, characteristic, charm. I think of all the American cities, none is more self-aware than the great and sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, California and i’ve found the photography of Sallie Harrison to capture the exact representation of a city that LA needs.
Pastel colors, sharp and angular lines, and the overall feeling of sunshine act as an accent and compliment to the plain asphalt and broken pieces of concrete you can find in LA. It’s a beautiful blend of surrealism and realism that really does well to create a beautiful representation of the cheap architecture of the city. Harrison’s color pallet alludes to the open desert while also acknowledging how man-made each of these structures are. This, to me, is the overwhelming satisfaction that comes with these photos of Los Angeles. That, while it is subjectless, there is a message and a worldview that speaks through each photo.
When I was thirteen my parents got me a little Sandisk mp3 player with 512mb of storage. It was loaded with some of the best Christian rock money could buy but more importantly it had a radio. I’d fall asleep to KISS fm playing the hits from 2007 and at that time Float On was still making its rounds on some of the late-night playlists. I’d lay there and cross my fingers hoping Float On would miraculously play next although Chris Brown and other late 00’s R&B would invariably take up the majority of the air time. The real game-changer was when my friend Travis gave me his old iPod shuffle. It too was filled with Justin Timberlake, T.I., and plenty of other stuff I didn’t really care about but most importantly it had the entire album, ‘Good News for People Who Love Bad News’, including Float On. That was when I first heard The World At Large, the second full-length track on the album that serves as a lyrical prelude to Float On. The World At Large introduces an incredible depth and vulnerability of the author that going forward influences the tone of the entire album. Albums like this formed my music taste and even now The World At Large remains one of my favorite songs to keep on repeat. Isaac Brock’s vocals brought something new to indie rock that I still look for when i’m listening to new artists. Some songs, like The World At Large or Blame it On the Tetons, he slurs through as if he’s drunkenly summoning memories. In other songs like Bury Me With It or Dance Hall he accesses an intensity that feels childish varying between falsettos, midrange, or just yelling through inflections. While bands like Modest Mouse may have already lived through their heyday and the album itself is nearing fifteen years old you can still occasionally hear Float On if you turn on the radio.
It’s strange how a film about divorce can be so engrossing. The first ten minutes of the film show you that this is, however, is not a divorce story but a love story. A marriage story. It’s about a couple who respect, love, and really seek to understand each other in the midst of a divorce and for me that sort of tone really felt refreshing. Its aesthetic is wonderfully clear and the storytelling benefits from this sort of continuity of style. The characters are all sharp and incredibly human (I really felt like I could put a name to any one of the faces). What I really appreciated about Marriage Story was that I at no point felt like the film was shoving a message down my throat. There are undeniable themes and some gender stereotypes are addressed but in a gracious context that invites understanding. It’s really a masterpiece of a story and is very much a contender for one of my favorite films of all time.