This always happens. As I’m packing, I tell myself: yes, of course I can set aside an hour each day while I’m overseas to write up something coherent and even mildly intelligent for the site. Not a problem. I’ll just take a couple of minutes at Golden Hour to shoot a bit of travel content. I’ll line up some test shoots between meetings when I get to New York. I’ll make the most of early Winter sunsets and flood Shine By Three with riveting new updates and chip away at my last few photo jobs of the year.
Forget about the jetlag, the flat and tired brain after a long year, and the fact that, unlike the grind in Sydney, the US boasts plenty of civilised non-alcoholic activities after dark. The above pseudo-dressing room flash frames, and the below morning breakfast-hunt crossings, were probably our only Zen moments before we succumbed to the holiday storm.
This always happens. And now, here I am. Hunched over my laptop at the kitchen counter in our LES Airbnb in the wee hours of the morning, not having updated this space in over a week (and inundating Instagram with festive food as atonement), confused at yesterday’s dietary intake, and toying with the idea of facing the Brooklyn Flea Markets after what is looking to be very few hours of sleep.
Swaying to the sweet tunes (quirks) of Kid Cudi in a temporarily converted parking lot in Beverly Hills feels like months ago, but it momentarily fed me some of that vibrantly surreal heartbeat of Los Angeles that I had, for six years no less, struggled to understand. Nobody who lived and loved the City of Angels had ever been able to explain what it was about its sprawling mass of traffic that was so grand. It was just the vibe of the thing, you know?
No, I don’t know. But on that particular evening, in the mist of a rare rain in the sunny state, enveloped in smoke and bright lights, I got a sense of the vibe. Los Angeles is a place where youth is king. Indeed, there is nothing more beautiful (aside from aging gracefully), but as a born old soul (I’m as nerdy and anti-ass-shorts as they come), I don’t often experience such naive, unabashed eagerness to see and be seen, to wear sunglasses after dark, to declare that you’ve moved to the promised Hollywood and that you’re an actor or a singer or a director now. In that short, sweet dose, I liked it a lot. Uncouth youth in America, simultaneously directionless or fiercely in the moment, and blindly ambitious for something or someone bigger and better, is a fascinating rite of life passage that has not evolved since colour television.
I’m not one of them, but it is pretty to look at.