Paul Jasmin
Dreaming of Hollywood

‘Yucca and Grace Ave Hollywood CA’ by Paul Jasmin 2000. Haddaway Home Los Angeles’ by Paul Jasmin 2006. Images Curtesy of Casa de Costa
Yucca and Grace Ave Hollywood CA by Paul Jasmin 2000
Haddaway Home Los Angeles by Paul Jasmin 2006
Images: Casa de Costa

 

Over the last three decades, Jasmin’s emotionally charged images have appeared in countless publications, including Vogue and W. Three standalone publications, the most recent being, California Dreaming,  read like the hazy diary of sun soaked Hollywood. Paul Jasmin’s conjuring of the American Dream and his portraits of those who chase it is similar to the work of Sofia Coppola and Bruce Weber, close friends who have edited two of his books respectively.

New York’s Casa de Costa gallery is hosting an exhibition of Jasmin’s work from 3rd of September 2014 to 23rd of October 2014. Jason Costa, the gallery’s president, allows us an insight into the curating of the show, working with Paul Jasmin and the stories behind the images.

How is Paul Jasmin’s body of work, spanning over three decades, represented in An L.A. Sort of Place? In terms of curation practises, how did you select what to include from the archive and how does the display of the works represent this?

This show is a mix of vintage prints and newly published editions, all of which relate to Los Angeles in their own particular ways. Chronology wasn’t something we talked about per se. Jasmin wanted to present the old and the new together, and we think it works best that way.

Paul Jasmin famously arrived in Los Angeles via New York City. What makes his work so typically ‘Californian’ to the onlooker? Are there still traces of his New York life?

Jasmin spent 20 years in New York before moving to Los Angeles. He forged important creative relationships in those years with people like Valentino, Lisa Love and Bruce Weber. And I think some of those relationships are profoundly important for his work even today. But you’re right to say that his work – especially the work he included in this show – is very evocative of Los Angeles and Hollywood, in particular. If there is something stylistic that comes through almost immediately about his work, it’s his keen cinematic sense; Jazz has had a lifelong love affair with cinema. His photographs portray this effortlessly luxurious, sort of bohemian mise-en-scène, the cast is beautiful and he’s a drop-dead master when it comes to painting a dreamer. Los Angeles isn’t so much the setting in these pictures as it is a character. L.A. is fundamentally a city of dreamers from Jazzy’s perspective, and that really comes through in his work.

How would you describe Paul Jasmin’s Hollywood?

Dreamy. Glamorous. Noir.

Paul Jasmin often refers to the innocence captured in his work, how would you describe this?

Jazzy has photographed scores of Hollywood stars, models and hopefuls over the years. People from all over the world are attracted to Los Angeles. The entertainment industry and is a magnet for a constant stream of dreamers with hopes of making it big. Jazz has been around long enough to know how the story is going to end for most of them. (And it’s not going to be the big motion picture contract or the hit reality show.) Knowing that hasn’t made Jazz a cynic, though. He’s squarely in the dreamer’s corner. He wants to see them succeed. And I think this empathy comes through in the pictures.

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How did this large retrospective evolve?

We starting working with Jazz in 2013 when he contributed a piece to a group show we organised called Boy! Oh Boy!, and things really evolved from there. We got to spend some quality time with him this past winter in L.A. (which is the best place to spend the winter, by the way). Jazz has an incredible body of work, but it had never been exhibited in a way where people could see a large collection of it all together, in one exhibition. We were excited to do a show, and Jazz was enthusiastic about it. The response to the work has been overwhelming.

‘Zane and Will Hot Desert Springs’ by Paul Jasmin 2006. Image Curtesy of Casa de Costa
Zane and Will Hot Desert Springs by Paul Jasmin 2006. Image Curtesy of Casa de Costa