We don’t need to tell you, an Open Culture reader, about the richness of David Lynch’s contribution to motion pictures. But the auteur also has an ongoing relationship with still photography which the past decade has seen emerge into public light. Years ago, I attended an opening in Los Angeles—the city so thoroughly captured by Lynch’s surrealism—of an exhibition of his own shots. Now, the Los Angeles Review of Books presents Lynch’s commentary, in the video above, on 99 pictures taken by others. Listen to him describe his viewing approach—that of a voyeuristic, all-feeling detective—and you’ll never look the same way at curtains, women’s shoes, stone Buddhas, and festering sores again.
Lynch selected these favorite 99 photos from the thousand presented at 2012’s Paris Photo, the international photography fair that happens each November during the European Month of Photography. Just above, you’ll find a French-language (but, to a non-Francophone like myself, still broadly understandable) clip on Lynch’s presence at the festival. He arrived as the inaugural selection of “Paris Photo vu par…,” a new tradition that will each year compile a book of images, their selection “entrusted to a different personality each year.” Die-hard fans will surely need to own their idol’s edition, and in late April they can make a pilgrimage to Lynch’s town for the launch of Paris Photo Los Angeles. Its location? The lot of Paramount Pictures, distributor of Lynch’s photographically striking The Elephant Man.
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.