It’s a mixed blessing to live near a place that sells things that are increasingly hard to come by, that you want. On the one hand, the close proximity makes acquiring things when you realize you need them very easy. On the other hand, of course, it means you end up spending probably more money than you otherwise would. So it is with me and Freestyle Photographic Supplies.
I’ve been increasingly using my variety of 35 mm, 120 and Polaroid cameras, and processing black and white film by hand, and so naturally I need to make frequent visits to Freestyle. They carry a wide variety of films, are the US distributors of Holga cameras, and keep in stock all the chemistry you’re likely to need.
It’s a great thing to have a few blocks away, in a world where these things are increasingly difficult to find just by walking into a place in your neighborhood. They also have a gallery space off the sales floor, and for the next couple of months you can see work by the employees of Freestyle, all of whom are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about everything from straightforward, traditional black and white photography to all manner of alternative photo processes.
Since I’ve been spending all of my money on film and chemicals, I have less money to spend on one of my other major vices: books. So naturally, I’ve been going to the library more. Los Angeles’ central library is a beautiful place to visit, not just for the usual reasons, but also because up on the 2nd floor, outside the Art, Music, and Recreation Department, is a modest gallery housing the ongoing series Works Sited, curated by LAPL librarian Olivian Cha for the past few years.
The series invites artists to create work “with themes relating to the library’s collections and practices.” Right now, artist Liz Glynn has created an exhibition that combines work made from books withdrawn from the collection and on their way to the dump with ephemera from the 1986 arson that destroyed a large part of the collection.