We are rather partial to an exhibition here at the Towers especially when it involves the work OF one our favorite photographers, Jesse Lizotte. Here he answers a few of our burning questions on the eve of his solo show, Alto Aqui.
Why Alto Aqui?
Jesse Lizotte: “It means ‘stop here’ in Spanish because the photos were taken on a road trip up and down the Baja coast. My Spanish is not as good as it should be having lived in the US for a long time. My homie Stehz in LA told me that the translation is correct but you sound like a narc when you say it that way haha It was too late to change, the flyers had already gone out.”
How long did you spend on location and what resonated with you about the landscape?
JL: “I was south of the border for 2 weeks or so. You know me, I’m a person that’s always been drawn to extremes. I loved the disparity between the uncouth desert and the crystal blue ocean water. It was unlike anywhere I’d been before.”
Best time of day and why?
JL: “Morning after a cup of coffee is when I’m most productive. Sunset is when I feel most happy though. Everything looks nice and surreal bathed in golden light.”
Were there any funny moments?
JL: “A guy at a roadside taco spot challenged me to eat a whole chilli. I didn’t want to lose face and I thought to myself, how bad could this little green guy be? Anyway I lost feeling in my face, was drooling uncontrollably and felt like I had an out of body experience! haha I swear this guy had grown the damn thing in a test tube. It could have melted through steel.”
What did the whole project teach you, apart from never to chew a chili again, or reveal to you about yourself?
JL: “I like to believe things don’t happen to you, they happen for you. You can always find the positives in a shitty situation. A lot of preparation had been done, portraits of strangers had been shot along the way and I had a completely different narrative for this show in my head. Then when I got back to LA, one of my cameras was stolen. I was beyond devastated. I entertained every idea under the sun about how to get the photos back! Luckily I was left with some mementos from the trip – although they were a departure from the type of photos I have taken in the past. So this dark turn kinda affected my whole editing process but in a good way. It also reminded me that you gotta live in the moment, because sometimes I get too attached to photos and wrapped up in the process of making them. I still have all these great memories in this thing called my head albeit a battered one.”
How many solo exhibitions have you had?
JL: “This will be my third solo show.”
JL: “Man, honestly I couldn’t tell you. I’m trying not to be too attached to anything anymore, my life has been full of surprises as of late…”
Jesse Lizotte: Alto Qui at China Heights gallery, Sydney open for viewing by appointment only until the 6th April.