The Angelenos

One summer night, I went to the cafe I work at to get a cappuccino at around 9PM after a good dinner. I didn't think that the caffeine would affect me since I drink coffee on a regular basis, but for some reason, it was surging through my veins and would not let my brain go to sleep that evening.

Alone and wide awake, thoughts were running through my head at a million miles a minute. I eventually began to think about how I haven't been shooting lately and that I've been so comfortable working as a barista that I forgot that I am first, and foremost, a photographer. Hell, I went to fucking art school to get a piece of paper validating my abilities to make great images (and paid a shitload of money too). How could I let all of that, the three years of blood, sweat, tears, and growth, go to waste?

Then it hit me. My new year's resolution for 2015 was to reconnect or get to know better those around me and those whom I have/begun to lose touch with. Why not turn this into a portrait project too? I can get 1-on-1 time with each person, even if it's for 20 minutes, and just hang out, talk, and get some cool portraits? Who doesn't want a decent photograph of themselves? Sure, the year is almost at an end, but that doesn't mean it's too late.

So for the next year, I will be making portraits on a weekly basis, publishing a minimum of two per week. If, at the end of 52 weeks, I still have more people I want to photograph, then I will continue this series until I am completely satisfied.

Please follow me in my journey through my blog and my Instagram page @ezekiel_lux #THEANGELENOS

What are you waiting for?

"Take a chance, you stupid ho."

I saw a video that was recently posted by The Voice of a guy who has the most amazing voice. He stunned all of the judges; Gwen Stefani being the most impressed.

Then I thought to myself, "What has Gwen Stefani been up to lately?" as well as "She's looking real good in this video." haha. I decided to look her up on YouTube and clicked on her most recent video. I watched it through and loved how she still holds true to her Japanese-pop, flashy style with bright colors, yet still looks badass and can wear all black and stun the audience. After that video was done, I looked to the right sidebar where her other related videos were and saw the "What are you waiting for?" music video. I haven't seen it in a while, so I thought I would click on it and watch it through for old times sake.

I didn't realize until after watching through half of the video that she was an artist like me who was stuck in a rut and trying to be inspired to create new content. Then the main chorus line began to ring through my head, "What you waiting for? Take a chance you stupid ho."

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, EZEKIEL?

I think once I began to think about this, I realized that I've also been super uninspired lately and haven't really kickstarted my photography career and utilized that damn expensive piece of paper I call a diploma from Art Center College of Design.

I have been so caught up in the day-to-day with my job at the cafe and riding bikes that I haven't been focusing on my own self and where I want to go with my photography career. I've been offered jobs at companies to be a staff photographer, but I've tried that already for a couple of months and realized that I really didn't enjoy myself, even if the pay was decent.

I'm at the point where I've been in search of a second job to pay rent and other bills, but I think I should use this time to buckle down and start my photography career. It's sad and I am quite embarrassed to say that it's taken me a year and a half to figure this out, but I see myself and I see my other friends who are already becoming established in the careers they want to be in and they are living happily without as much of a struggle that I am dealing with now.

Time for a change? You bet. Can I do it? I have NO fucking idea. But what am I waiting for?

As the one of the greatest cartoon show teachers, Ms. Frizzle always said, "Take chances. Make mistakes. GET MESSY!" 

The First Major Crash

The joy of riding with friends, the struggle with climbing mountains, the sheer excitement as you descend a steep mountain road...

                                                    and the painful crash down that road if you aren't careful enough.

It's 10PM on a Friday night and I'm preparing my bike and my gear for the next morning's ride in Monrovia starting from Empire Bikes and going through the mountains and back. I text my friends Jordan and Chris, making sure that they're also definitely attending; they're already asleep.

5AM, my alarm rings, but I naturally hit the snooze and don't wake until 5:45. The shop is about 30 minutes away and the ride is scheduled to leave at 6:30AM. I throw on my kit and rush out the door with my (thankfully) already prepped things and throw it in the car.

I get to the shop just in time.

After paying the fee for the Ride For A Cure ride, a fundraiser to help support cancer research, all of the cyclists meet out front and saddle up. After a brief introduction and a few instructions from the ride leader, and we are on our way. My friends and I are screwing around a bit before we reach the foot of the mountain.

As we push through the morning going up and down hills and avoiding the speeding cars heading up to Crystal Lake, we reach the first regroup spot at a bridge. I wait for one of my buddies as the rest of the group leaves so that he doesn't get left behind. As soon as he catches up, we continue on the route to the next stop to get some water, and then start the more serious climbing on Glendora Ridge Road.

Since my friend Chris is still new to climbing, I would double-back to make sure that he is alright. This brother was in so much pain; he stated that he did a full workout of squats just two days prior, meaning his legs were still rebuilding muscle. I wanted to push him to keep going and not stop, but didn't want him to cramp up and not be able to finish, so we take it easy.

We eventually get to the peak and see where the descent would begin. I get as excited as a child who sees all of the presents under the tree on Christmas morning, and yell at Chris to hurry up. At this point, it's just the two of us, the tail end, and we begin our descent.

Now, if you haven't been on a ride with me before, understand that I LOVE descending. It's not because it's easy (cuz it's not), but it's the sheer speed I can gain just from going into a more aerodynamic position with the wind blowing in my face, hitting speeds up to 40-50mph.

As I'm descending, I try to corner harder and harder each time, getting lower and lower to the ground while still being in control of the bicycle. It was the most exhilarating feeling in the world because it shows how much I've improved as a cyclist in the last few years of riding. I look back to make sure that Chris is still close; I eventually lose him and pull over to wait for him to catch up. 

I see him again and I hop back on the bike, shouting at him to keep going.

I get back into descending mode and eventually pass Chris again, getting back into the rhythm of fast speeds and hard cornering all the way down to the bottom of the mountain...

Then I see it.

It's too late. There's a slight turn coming up and I'm already pumping the brakes gently to slow down into the turn. Suddenly a loose patch of gravel appears and I see it too late. I hit the brakes a little harder to slow myself down more but it proves to be useless. The bike slips out from underneath me as I start falling down with my left shoulder first. I slam the ground with my shoulder, followed by the back of my head. I see the bike launch forward, flipping into the air, hitting the ground, and then flipping again and sliding away from me. While that happens, I also lunge forward and end up on my right arm, leg, and buttocks as I slide about fifteen feet down the graveled road.

I stop. I can't breathe. I scream for air.

I end up holding myself up with my arms, sitting on my legs as I fight for air. A few riders and motorcyclists stop for me to make sure that I'm alright. They ask if I need an ambulance and I decline. Who wants to pay those bills anyway? Not me. I'm not THAT injured. I check myself real quick to make sure I didn't break any bones and luckily enough, I'm okay. Another cyclist who was behind me checks to make sure that I'm not heavily concussed and eventually goes on his way. Chris calls my friend Jordan at the shop to have him come pick us up. While Chris waits with me, I pick off the gravel stuck in my wounds and wash the largest abrasions off with whatever water I have left with me.

Jordan eventually arrives and scrapes me off the ground, covering up the giant wound on my right arm so that I don't bleed all over the car as he takes me back to the shop. Thinking that I am feeling okay, I tell both of my friends that I will be okay to drive back to LA...but eventually get so dizzy that I ask Chris to take me instead.

As soon as I get back to LA, I get myself to the ER with the help of Chris, my cousin, and my mom, and get treated in the ER. After the painful wound "irrigation" and bandaging, the doc performs a CT scan to check my brain for any damage. They said that no other serious damage was done and that all I had was a concussion. Once they write my prescription for some pain killers, they discharge me and let me go home.

The last couple of days have been pretty painful, but hopefully I'll be back on a bicycle by next week so I can start riding again. Do I have any regrets? No. I had so much fun that day that I will probably go out and do it again soon. I did learn one thing though: don't be overconfident on roads you've never ridden on before. Take it easy the first time, then smash the hell out of it.

Oh, you want to see some photos? Sure thing! (NSFW)

 

Welcome back, EZ.

For a while now, I've been trying to decide where my thoughts should be publicized. I always have something to say, but the outlets I've been using (friends, co-workers, facebook, etc...) haven't been the most appropriate places to talk about things at certain times.

Therefore, I shall be coming back here to update on the regular my thoughts to help me process my feelings on certain things and to have something to look back upon in the future.

Should these be private? Yeah, perhaps some things, but for the most part, I'm pretty open about myself and am not afraid to talk about what is on my mind, even if it's through the most brutal place of all: the internet.

"Netizens", hello.

Grand Park

Here is something new for the blog. If you haven't been following me on Instagram, what are you waiting for?? Catch all of my updates @ezekiel_lux

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Run River North at Hotel Cafe

I've been photographing Run River North, a local band based in Los Angeles whom are currently on their way to break into the mainstream music industry! They have been doing a residency at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, CA from November 6th - December 4th. I'm compiling the images into an editorial piece, so be sure to check it out soon!

 

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