On a Roll: Alex Colombino on Paying Attention and Playing with Space in Los Angeles

There’s a lot of music in my photos. I like to make people dance. This process has been resurrected so many times but it has always had the same bones. Walking around with a camera and paying attention has become my own obscurely obvious life remedy.

I listen to a lot of blues and gospel while I walk. Not to prescribe myself, but using the visceral rungs of the seen to try to touch the unseen levels me. The therapeutic nature of the blues is something I’m always trying to incarnate. I find heartbreak much more inspiring than love. When you are able to embrace sadness, that internal combustion forcing you to cry produces a transcendent love that you wouldn’t have been able to grasp or even imagine beforehand. Seen to unseen. I’ll only really share a sad story if I can somehow make it into a happy story. I’m generally a happy person but only because I’ve learned (am learning) to harness the combustion. Live in it.

I like playing with space in photography. Looking at how people perform in the space they are given, how they manage when it shrinks and expands, how they transition in and out of public. The Venn diagram of personal and public space lends itself to becoming this intricate live performance. There is something to hearing the crowd, the call and response, the improvisation, succumbing to the moment umbrellaed beneath the daunting possibility of failure. If you come out unscathed, it makes the finale that much more impactful.

Recently, I’ve been setting up camp in similar crosshairs, wholeheartedly diving into documenting strangers for some unperceived “greater good.” A road lined with self- doubt, fleeting validation, and very little money, yet placing myself in the corner is irresistible.

There is something so alluring about scrambling out of a tight situation with subtle elegance, grazing the door as it slams behind you. The secret is paying close attention while you are in the room, confessing the privilege to be there, grabbing whatever souvenirs you can, and slipping out to share them with the people you love.

L’Agent Goodies…