Name? Age? Location? Website?
Alana Celii. 21. Brooklyn, NY. alanacelii.com
Your photographs span the great American landscape from California to New Jersey but I'm always taken back by your photos of the west. Can you give us a little background on your travels of Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. What led to these road trips?
As a child, my family moved around a lot. I am convinced that this is one of the reasons why I have this constant desire to be going somewhere. My family ended up living in Texas for the past 9 years. I spent my teenage years living there, and continue to go back at least twice a year. However, I often find it hard to shoot there. Whenever I'm flying into DFW, the sight of the flat yellow/green landscape tends to cultivate this sense of dread. It's a really strange state. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about it, but maybe I'm only saying that because I lived there for so long. I was wearing a necklace the other night that had charm in the state of Texas, and someone asked me if I was wearing it to be ironic.
The first time I went to Colorado was two summers ago with Grant Willing. His family is from the area, and he invited me along. The first trip we went on was just through the mountain counties. I think it was one of the first road trips we went on, too. Last summer, we went to Colorado again. We spent time visiting his Dad in the mountains before setting off on the trip through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. I think we both really fell in love with Idaho. After staying one evening in a motel where the TV was about ten feet from the bed, and chained to the wall, we rolled into Idaho Falls for breakfast. I think we were the youngest in the restaurant by at least forty years. Our waitress commented on the large size of my purse, saying that she could put me in it, and Grant had some of the best biscuits and gravy in his life.
We actually just made a book about that trip called "77,777." You can find more about it here: flickr.com/photos/lalalana/2572306838/ Grant also has a really great recap of our trip on his "blog." I believe it's one of the first entries: grantwilling.wordpress.com
When I'm on the road at night I always try to locate a station that broadcasts Coast to Coast AM. Do you have a favorite radio show when your are on the road?
I actually don't. While I'm in Dallas I usually listen to KLUV, which is the oldies station. On our first trip we ended up listening to the same 3 CDs over and over because we couldn't get the ipod to sync with the cassette player. I believe they were Talking Heads, David Bowie, and Devo. Grant and I made a road mix that's a part of the 77,777 book: 1. Golden Earring - Radar Love 2. Blondie - X Offender 3. The Smiths - Big Mouth Strikes Again 4. Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode 5. The Doors - LA Woman 6. Neil Diamond - Solitary Man 7. Gerry and the Pacemakers - At the End of the Storm 8. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Some Day Never Comes 9. Roy Orbison - Mean Woman Blues 10. Robert Palmer - Simply Irresustubke 11 Joan Jett - Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) 12. Talking Heads - Psycho Killer 13. Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs - Woolly Bully 14. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood - Jackson 15. Patsy Cline - Stop, Look and Listen 16. Otis Redding - Love Man 17. Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps - Be-Bop A Lula 18. Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash - Oh What a Good Thing We Had
Favorite snack or drink for such adventures?
I love strawberry cream shakes from Sonic. Sonics are rare to come by though if you're not in like the south or the west. I think the closest one to me right now is in Lancaster, PA. I think diner food is a must as well. I've been watching a lot of the show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on the Food Network.
You are currently a student at Parsons School of Design in New York city. How much of an impact do you feel your education has made on your creative output?
I'm not really sure. I think it would be a complete lie to say that school hasn't impacted my work, but I'm not sure how much it has changed the way I work in the last year. I think whatever the situation, school is what you make of it, and so I've tried to surround myself with friends, mentors and teachers who are amazing and just wonderful people to be around. I think those people and living in this city have made more of an impact.
As well as taking pictures you also run, along with Grant Willing, Rotating Gallery, a small gallery consisting of a 12x9' wall in your apartment. Tell us a little more about it.
The gallery started out randomly. We would collect things on the street, bring them home and pin them to our wall. After a while, we would refer to it as our gallery, but it took probably around six months for it become an actual online project. Our friend Grady was about to throw out a print he had made, and I said I wanted it for the gallery. At the same time, Grant had to make a website for the Design class he was taking. Everything just fell into place one night. We decided to do the shows monthly, and invite friends to send us artwork or found objects. The gallery has been online for about a year now. What is really great for me about the gallery is that everything we find and keep is given a new value just because it's immortalized online.
You are also run FJORD. Who, what, when and why?
Fjord came about because we were both really interested in how our generation grew up with the Internet, and was now using it as a tool for self promotion. We curated a group of about 70 photographers that we felt were showcasing their work on the Internet in a particular way. By showcasing the work, we wanted to bring attention to these emerging photographers, and hopefully through the site curates will contact them. Because the photographers on FJORD never change, we both have hoped that with the feed, the website will be a source for other young photographers to find submission opportunities.
If you could use only one camera for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Any good music, tv, movie, websites, or whathaveyou that you are currently rad on?
For the past four months, I've been watching the entire series of Northern Exposure with Grant. I'm also really into guide horses lately.
Megan Trevino and Grant Willing because we're about to leave for another road trip on Monday. Grady O'Connor because he reminds me of Cape Cod, and we haven't been on a trip together since Rosh Hashanah of last year. Carolie Dominick and Noel Sinclair Boyt because I miss them, and I know they are fans of Fecal Face.
For more, check out: alanacelii.com
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