To Each a Dream by James de Leon
While 2000’s Requiem for a Dream was a harrowing story of addiction, delusion and obsessive behavior, the movie left an indelible impression on me for its visual storytelling and depiction of New York City, a city of dreams pockmarked by pitfalls and deep isolation.
I moved to New York 3 years ago. Art imitating life, imitating art. I had known Paige before moving to NY but we finally met last summer, a humid July day which crested clockwise on the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island, her long black hair Jennifer Connelly-esque on the darkened Boardwalk. By night’s end, I could basically hear the crunch of Requiem’s title card “Summer” drop in, the first act, a honeymooned motif swelling to winter’s lux aeterna.
In January we shot in an hourly motel in Queens. We had become friends in the meantime, both of us nearly forgetting about the photo-series entirely. With a new year ahead, I had intended to give up a distinctive primal base to my brand of photographic soup, an insatiable drip of shutter clicks in cheap motel bathtubs with a familiar siren song bouncing off tiled walls. But I was back on it now. My hands and elbows steady once again. The click of the shutter satisfying now more than ever.
James de Leon is a visual artist based in New York City focusing on cinematic portraiture.