Friday, March 17, 2017

John Brantingham

This project's first feature is one of the brightest, most influential poets working in Southern California today, and I'm happy to say one of my best friends.  John Brantingham's poetry is wonderfully sweet, poignant, and intimately tied to the geography and environment of his region.  His work explores the human condition, it can be joyful and humorous, risky, and always feels like it is part of a larger conversation.  It is an honor to feature him in the launch of this project.

This photoshoot was done on Mt. Baldy, near the area John grew up in and has known most of his life.  The poem featured below is the poem he was writing during the shoot.

9 Ways to Locate the Ghost of Yourself in the High Sierra
by John Brantingham

1. Press your ear to the trunk. The loggers, their mad, drunken songs.

2. Lightning storm, sugar pine, your head upturned, your mouth a fat bowl.

3. A girl curls into the little gap burned into a sequoia tree the way a bird sleeps a nest.

4. Translucent shrimp haunt the caves beneath your soles. Shout to them as you pass.

5. Locate the treeline by following the pika’s chirp.

6. Fire season and the smoke chokes your cough. Now the forest is in you too.

8. What happened to 7? He wandered too close to the river, swept into everlasting.

9. A turkey vulture’s wobbling balance on the air. Last night’s dinner still steams his mouth.


  1. Hello-

    Well, they say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I bet they even have it on the wall at the Hydrox company headquarters.

    B.A. Van Sise

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by, I'm a great admirer of your photography!

  3. More than words stamped forever on a sheet that was once an inkling of a sapling talent uncoiled

  4. Nice portrait, Elder. The thing about John is that it's not just a package. The real deal on SO many levels.

    Kendall Johnson