In a conversation on slow things and learning, Nick Parish dropped this one on me which hit home, particularly because I am not a fast learner or a fast anythinger:
This is one of the most subtle parts about growing up that I like: shooting for mastery not immediately, but imminently. I might be OK at fishing in my ’60s. Same with writing. No need to hurry to ‘get good.’
I only learned about Willis Simms a few years ago, after he had died and I read a small piece about him and his career as an artist, educator and environmentalist. He worked to give the gift of animation to his students in high schools around the Los Angeles area and after reading that piece I wondered if any of his films would see the light of day.
Last week I had the good fortune of finding one of these films — a production by his students done in the 1970s called Classroom Safari. You can tell from the wonderful fabric of this film that the Simms classroom was likely a fun place to learn. Classroom Safari has a simple premise, really about daydreaming your way into something more invigorating than a classroom.
Other films by Simms’s students have been retained on Archive.org and you’ll find an equal amount of happy animals and two-dimensional walking scenes in lovely little vignettes. All of the films were collaborations between Simms and his students, with the class dreaming up the ideas and painting all of the characters and backdrops, with Simms making the edits and often the school’s music teacher helping to assist on sound roll. Remarkably, three of the films Simms made with his students were distributed nationally.
These photos were found in the evidence files of various Los Angeles-area police departments and auctioned over the course of the last month. They were shot in and around LA’s more treacherous corners and canyons, especially Mulholland Drive.
They are now a quiet artifact of what was likely a horrible day. Other than the Mulholland shots, there is one photo marked ‘3100 Wonderview Dr.’ Visit it today and note the robust armco at the edge of the road.
I used to spend a lot of time flicking these RF switchboxes back and forth, tightening down the screws and yelling over my shoulder that we already checked that, maybe it’s the game or something.
A few weeks back we spent a couple of days in Yosemite, one of the more inspiring trips of the year. No doubt the park is grand, but I once again found myself lingering in the lots with my camera. I bumped into all sorts of interesting cars, some in transit and some parked for week. Some of my favorites are below: