Our favorite eyewear company - Garrett Leight - never ceases to amaze me! Not only has he managed to create a timeless brand that has the eyewear community buzzing (STILL), but he manages to pull it all off just 'being normal'. Not normal in the usual kind of way. Its obviously not normal to create a brand that is effortlessly exciting and honest at the same time. Yet Garret seems to do this with ease.
So you can imagine my ever increasing enthusiasm, when I starting digging into his website and discovered the 'features and stories' pages. The article below on Los Angeles's hidden design gem neighborhood 'Hayden Tract', captures the essence of everything I love about story telling and good design. All captured on the pages of the Garrett Leight interwebs.
PHOTOS: MIKE SELSKY
WORDS: ADAM JOHNSTON
The use of black and white photography is often reserved for serious subject matter. I am thinking of a magazine clipping — from my parents’ Newsweek, I believe; yes, ours was a populist liberal household (wait how is that not a thing, one of those combinations of syllables and sounds from different words, like Bennifer or Soho or smog or bobo) — taped to the kitchen wallpaper, a black and white image printed on cheap magazine paper, of a man in a suit standing over a grave, weeping, his head in his hands, a cello resting against his chest as if its music could no longer provide solace; a somber picture quite, a bit theatrical perhaps but still...well, heavy on symbolism as they say. I believe the subject was a mourner of the Balkan wars, a conflict so much easier to put aside than this generation’s War on Terror, those were simpler times, the early 90s, prattle on, prattle on.
To begin again: the ostensible absence of color in images communicates (on the surface at least) a wink to the past, a reference to the technology of the medium, a point in its infancy when professionals could only present their images to the public in black and white. One of the many fascinating dualities of photography is that it can simultaneously capture a moment in time and a movement through time. Now black and white photography is a selection, a choice — what once held power over you, you can now brush or swipe aside; or more optimistically, what was once a constraint is now an opportunity, an exploration — and with that choice, decided on the shoulders of the choices of so many photographers who came before you, it now appears as a weight, a stillness, a cue that it is time for the viewer to lean in, gaze, reflect, for our mixed up modern day Narcissus. This is something somber, important, tragic maybe; it has GRAVITAS. Everyone chooses Willow or Inkwell for a reason.
And those metaphors are built around you, they are things you can see and touch in the City of Angels, or Culver City, or whatever, or wonder where: that tract of land just beyond your everyday life, your path through this life, terra incognita, but there, there if you go for it. Go West, young man, young woman. Step away from the glow of your screen in black and white and explore the future in color.