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Courtney Eldridge

Songs to Film to Write By

A couple days ago, I wrote Jamie Paul and asked if he had a title in mind for his playlist, and he sent three: “Songs to Film By,” “Nevermind the Pixies, It’s the Mixtape,” and “Jamiepaul Presents Jamiepaul.” He said I could take my pick, so I chose the third option, simply because it made me laugh, which is so in keeping with Jamie, really.

The other great thing about Jamie is that when I first wrote him, asking if he would be interested in collaborating, he said yes, and then, within the hour, he sent me his eight images and playlist. Just like that: done. Might be a collaboration record he now holds.

Also, for weeks now, months, even, I’ve been wondering how to start working in the whole feeding frenzy, the instant celebrity of this character, Thea, once her story and Cam’s story hits the media cycle. They become household names, basically, but she’s the only one who has to face the reporters, the insanity of becoming, basically, an overnight start. That part of the story has been there from the start, of course, but the problem was that I wanted a sense of the magnitude, the very real weight of that sort of fame, but I wanted it to feel genuine. I wanted to spend some time, thinking about what this girl experiences, but specifically how surreal it would be, living in the middle of a media circus—news crews camping outside your house, for example—that’s all the more surreal for how little her daily life has changed, how common her situation still is. That push and pull of the surreal and everyday, I guess.

So, a couple weeks ago, when I came across one of Jamie’s photos—Jamie Paul, Image 7, the one of the amazing black-and-white wallpaper—I wrote him right away. I took one look at his photostream, and that’s what I felt, the sense of exaggeration, a piece blown all out of proportion, and yet,  in a single frame, how graphic and textural that piece becomes. The surfaces he captures were so well-suited to this sort of fishbowl experience, this period of her life as I imagined it, but couldn’t quite find an entry. Also, there’s the fact that Jamie shoots color, primarily, but there’s always a black-and-white feel about his work, something slightly anachronistic, even if it just happened last night.

In any case, I got started, writing, but I had another question for him in the meantime, about a song on his playlist that I couldn’t find on YouTube, surprise, surprise, so I wrote him again, and Jamie emailed me from the road. He was on road trip, taking pictures, and the reason I mention it is because I immediately wanted to see what he was doing. Which also led me to thinking I’d use that, the road trip, somehow. And I did, and I will.

But still, my point is that I’m fortunate not just to work with someone like Jamie, but to get to watch his work continue on its own course, in its own time. And, of course, to laugh whenever I think of him. I need that, and god knows this project needs that. So, thank you very much to Jamie Paul for presenting Jamie Paul.

C.E.

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