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uninterrupted written, photographed, designed by sean eckhardt

for pj, liam, eric, julian, audrey, paige, jane, brendan, blake, and sarah who made me who i am, and continue to teach me to live and to love with all of my being.


this story was uninterrupted, in the sense that it was done without expectation. without prior editing, and without inhibition or bias. it was a true depiction of a life of a nineteen year old, let’s face it, kid, who, like most others, is just trying to figure his shit out. the photos were taken during a one month period, in which i lived. i just lived. i listened to songs which i included in this project because they were as inspiring as anything. i hiked. i looked around. i needed to get back to my roots after a grueling semester away in college and do some soul searching and take time to think, uninterrupted with incredible people. the writings, too, are confessional in nature, journal entries, stream of consciousness flowing directly from raw 3 experience. that period of time exists in another realm now. even when it was happening, it was not real. it was an escape from reality. an incredible relief from reality. a world that can only fully exist in the moment and no documentation can truly capture the essence of it. there are so many questions, so many blanks that are left in the transmission of experiences. fill in the blanks with your other realm. the realm where you truly know yourself. bring a friend.



misdirected There isn’t a whole lot going on in Altadena. It became sort of bohemian, really distinct, with boutique Gelato places tucked in next to decrepit Rite-Aids and Carnicerias and BBQ shacks and those liquor stores that the high school kids know they can snag a fifth without an ID. It’s also a place where there are gang members gather across the street from hipster coffee houses, and smoke shops that you have to get buzzed into. So, my point is, there is quite a bit that happens in Altadena, if you just look a little more closely; maybe hop out of your Tesla on your way to the gated paradise at the top of the hill; take a drive; take a picture; smoke a cigarette, smoke a joint and clear your mind. Think for a little bit. There are a lot of places in Altadena where you can just think.


As soon as we walk through those high school doors we’re constantly prodded and forced to be busy, productive members of society. It’s the first real head first dive into life. We begin a crash course in learning how to impress other people. It’s the first time that the pressure is something real, with real consequences: anxiety, lack of trust, difficulty in friendships, hurting ourselves, hurting others, losing the rest of the freedom we have. We start missing the signs that things aren’t going well. So what happens? We act reckless, we get behind the wheels of cars when we shouldn’t, we go places that are dangerous, all in the name of a good time. The tricky part is, we’re wired to fight against that. It’s a survival tool. It’s nature telling us that we’re not ready for it yet. We do things that have real consequences. Self-inflicted wounds. It’s primal. We want to be wild. It’s in our nature. We end up misdirected. This dead end street in Altadena is a peaceful place. But we’re so tuned out, that it needs an arrow that tells you to turn instead of plummeting into a canyon. Why not get out of the car and climb into that untouched canyon? Why not find a place where you can think, or not, without being interrupted by someone asking you if you’ve worked enough today? Find a place where you don’t have to hide the fact that you’re just dying to be a little wild. That arrow will still be there tomorrow.



wild - parade of lights

drive It would be a shocker to know, when we died, exactly how much time we spent moving around in our cars. Living in Los Angeles, it’s a third of your day behind that wheel. But, I realized when I moved to a city where I didn’t have my car, that there was a mind-numbing quality of driving that I sorely missed.


Where else are you forced to concentrate on nothing other than pure sensory experience? Sight and sound are the only things that matter when you’re driving. Roll down your window and get some warm California air, sense of touch doesn’t hurt either. Turn on the radio and blast some music, or listen to what’s going on in the world. There’s nothing else you can do, so you keep your eyes open and your ears open and just absorb everything like a sponge. Driving is the only time when ultimate relief from stress can come from rolling down your windows and flooring it and feeling that rush. Then there are those night drives, where you pack 7 or 8 people in a sedan that seats five to go to a house party. There’s excitement in the mystique of going out, of getting fucked up without the slightest inhibition. There’s excitement in the inherent danger of it all. There’s the satisfaction of surviving the night. I woke up dreaming of being stuck in traffic, it might be time to get behind the wheel again.



the art of peer pressure - kendrick lamar

running High school track was all about running in circles. I was a middle distance runner, and even when we weren’t on the track we would still be running circles. Rose Bowl, JPL, and the hills of La Canada and Pasadena were some of the circles we alternated through each week. JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) was always my favorite. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the shortest run out of all of them. I know we’re all drawn to places that we grew up in and have fond memories of, especially when we get older and life becomes more complicated. We crave that simplicity and that order that the day to day used to be.


We went back to our roots, but with different perspective. In a literal sense, driving around, Sarah and me found this back street parallel to JPL where I had never been before. 3 years of running that circle and I never came across this spot in Altadena where you could see the secretive building head on. We realized how ludicrous that is. Years of driving and running around a place and we never saw this beautiful place that was right in front of our eyes. We went back to this place where we basically grew up and just wondered what we were thinking, just two years earlier and how much more we seem to know now. Time made us realize that the most painful mistakes of growing up, the mistakes of the past, are irrelevant now. These were the things that, at the time seemed like the end of the world. We can finally stop running in that circle of hurt-heal-hurt-heal-hurt. At ease, looking forward, moving on with more mature perspective.



divided - tegan & sara

smoke Sarah told me once that smoking, at some point, became a part of her person. That quitting would be like giving up a part of her soul. We create these images of who we want to be. How we “present” ourselves. Even though that box of Newports is so important to her, there were people in her life that had no idea she even smoked.


Things we choose are integral to our self-image, as opposed to an inherent pheromone or aura or something that we project. Smoking a certain brand of cig has no impact on other people’s views of you. It’s as much of a statement as that bag is. Something drew her to that bag just as something made her buy those particular cigarettes, just as something draws you to your favorite color. We bring these facets of ourselves with us, especially when we realize that no one is actually watching. It becomes a form of freeing isolation. When we’re not presenting ourselves we can finally see how we’re pieced together, what we should improve on, and what we like about ourselves. We reflect on the past, on the things that caused us to become this person that us at 11 years old would never recognize. We start to curate ourselves, then we maintain ourselves, and then we just look at the finished product, trying to figure out what happened.



youth - daughter

actress 14

This morning I was on Facebook, and my high school posted this quote from the drama teacher. “Life is improv,” it read. My first thought was “Fuck, this guy is nuts.” But, in all seriousness I like the quote. Life is improv. Sure. Everything is acting because we’re never actually saying or doing what we actually mean or what we want to do. I mean, how could we? Society would just fall apart. God, we’re already such insane narcissists all the time, can you imagine if we weren’t at least trying not to be? Sarah’s is an actress. To her, life is improv. The problem is, she’s a real person too. Real people can’t be acting constantly. I know I can’t be another person all the time, I’d have to hide way to much shit for it to work. But, job interviews, being in class, everything involving strangers or people you’re trying to impress is all just one big act. Sarah’s is an actress. I get lost in words and sounds and images. We try our hardest to make our lives as close to our art as possible. We want there to be no separation between the two. To get back in touch with the truth of yourself takes some isolation, and some time to just do whatever the fuck you want. No one’s watching. We’ve got all day.



down in the valley - the head and the heart











hollow 22

I ran away from home, which ended up being the place where I needed to be. I became someone else when I left. I had a few months of pure contentment, followed by an extended period of unrest, tortured thinking, missing my friends and not feeling like I was in the right place. That pretend me is hollow, empty. There’s nothing to him. No opinions. No voice. No interest. No risk. Then I went back to where I belonged, and I climbed a hill. Eventually I had to climb back down. Back to some difficulty, yes, but also back to something very satisfying. Something with delayed gratification that an impatient seventeen-year-old kid couldn’t understand: The work, the people, and the rush that could fill everything in. All I had to do was look outward into the beauty of the future instead of inward into the regrets of the past.



bill murray - phantogram

content I feel like I have to learn different perspectives to really understand my own reality. Finding that perspective doesn’t always involve some sort of escape. Sometimes it’s just a 5 or 10-minute mediation out of 24 hours of not having a chance to catch my breath. During those 5-10 minutes, cherish the good. I go somewhere tranquil. Celebrate something you accomplished. Have a little taste of that escape, of that ease, of that pause. Smoke a joint; or something that you do that connects you to that part of yourself.


When I’m in work mode, every moment is just planning something that may or may not happen in the future. When I’m in escape mode, nothing matters beyond what’s happening in the exact moment in time I’m sitting in. Neither is particularly satisfying. I think being truly content with what’s going on lies in striking a balance between the two. Moderation. After all, life isn’t a straight path where you just leave behind the past. Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, said: “I experience life in layers that seem to coexist.” I agree with Jennifer Egan. When I find a way to reconcile the past with the present and just let everything come together, I try not to dwell on the things from the past that I would go back and change because I can’t do anything about it. When I accept that it just is, I think that’s when I’m the most content.



feel it all around - washed out



influence I’m not exactly a prime role model. I drink. I smoke. I drive drunk. I drive high. I drive crossed. I like rough sex. I like drugs. I like all these things. I party. I’m a thrill seeker. I hate being alone. Something always has to be happening. I drink too much coffee. I don’t sleep enough. I become obsessed with things. I have low self-esteem. I’m anxious. I ride. I try hard not to screw up more than I already have, but it’s difficult when your mind is a shade lighter than undiagnosed bipolar.


The people who look at us and don’t understand my generation look at us with pity and say “Ya kids and ya drugs.” Yeah, I may have just channeled my Great-Aunt Charlotte who was from the emphasis on the vowels state of New Hampshire (for example she would tell my grandma: “MAArge, pAAArk the cAAAAAr in the yAAAAArd”). Anyways that’s where we find ourselves in our teenage years, or at least that’s how other people interpret it. We’re human beings boiled down to one stereotypical sentence, which is basically thinly veiled dehumanization. No part of me thinks that anyone should go through life like me. I’m too neurotic. But there have been people in my life who have looked up to me and that’s awesome and when I’m with them I just trying to be cool, and try my best to preserve the impression they have of me, even if it’s sort of an illusion. Yeah. Not the best role model.



ride - lana del rey

time What is it about a group of guys that society just doesn’t trust? Maybe it’s that formation we walk in; that sort of spread out three-person wide row, like some kind of gang formation from S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders or something. Or maybe it’s because we’re just inherently untrustworthy between the ages of 15 and 22. “What’s in that bottle? Don’t tell me its water. And don’t tell me it’s because it’s hot out.”


“You smoke cigarettes? What’s the matter with you?” “I pulled you over because your ‘license plate light’ was out. Not because you were just two 19-year-old kids driving in La Cañada at 1:12 in the morning.” The smell of weed miraculously, unnoticed. Shit, they might be right. We let them know that we don’t care; it’s all right. Get your phone out. Maybe we’ll get a good pic to post on Instagram.



tennis court - lorde

ease The best thing about being, a teen, err, a student, is that, if you’re doing it right, you work your ass off on a daily basis with the promise that you’ll have a long break.


From no time at all to having all the time in the world is like jumping from a Jacuzzi to a swimming pool in the middle of winter. It’s fucking shocking. When I don’t have to do anything life is so easy. We can do whatever we want. The question is what? Planning things is hard for some reason. But the good thing is that everyone we know is in the same boat, so we fill the time with people you know, doing whatever, debaucherous things. The days go on and on and on until I get out of the pool to dry off; until I go back to working my ass off; and I’m shocked again. No matter how many times this cycle happens, I don’t think I’ll really ever get used to it.



austere - the joy formidible



moment We grow up and we have fewer excuses for things that don’t go well. We can’t blame someone’s influence. We can’t blame our age anymore or our lack of experience.


One day you leave home. There’s a path that leads to a hill. You could stay on the side you’re already on, but where’s the fun in that. It takes a risk to see the other side. It takes you and no one else. If you fuck up, it’s your own life. No one will be there to scrape you up off the floor. All we have are the experiences you have from the life you’ve lived so far, and contrary to what our parents’ generation believed, we have lived. We know things as a result. It doesn’t matter if they don’t believe us. We know it for ourselves. We have that determination, grit, dreams, goals, whatever. What comes next is finding the future in those things.



days - the drums

unknown We grow up and we have fewer excuses for things that don’t go well. We can’t blame someone’s influence. We can’t blame our age anymore or our lack of experience.


One day you leave home. There’s a path that leads to a hill. You could stay on the side you’re already on, but where’s the fun in that. It takes a risk to see the other side. It takes you and no one else. If you fuck up, it’s your own life. No one will be there to scrape you up off the floor. All we have are the experiences you have from the life you’ve lived so far, and contrary to what our parents’ generation believed, we have lived. We know things as a result. It doesn’t matter if they don’t believe us. We know it for ourselves. We have that determination, grit, dreams, goals, whatever. What comes next is finding the future in those things.



paradise - city and colour

ghosts We stumbled upon this big, concrete circle covered in graffiti. It was a forum, filled with messages, which at one point meant something to someone. It fills me with regret.


I don’t hate admitting it, interrupted is the person who I most look up to. For some reason, that makes it impossible for me to be honest with myself and realize that something isn’t right. Maybe it’s good enough, feeling used. As long as it’s by a person that you’d rather be used by than not have them in your life at all. Feeling used, is at least, feeling something. I wonder if I’ll ever really know if I was just being used. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to ask. Maybe one day, instead of that unsettling doubt that haunts me daily, the ghosts will move on. Forgotten. It all makes me wonder if the people who wrote on this stone canvas ever actually conveyed these messages to the ones who were meant to read them. The selfish part of me hopes the messages never made it. It’s more relatable that way. My hopeful side prays that they did. Maybe one day I’ll send my own.



a beginner’s guide to destroying the moon - foster the people

patterns There’s a lot of comfort in patterns; always knowing exactly what’s going to happen, or at least have a fall back if circumstances change. Especially when they become so engrained in who you are that you never even think to question them. I fall into these patterns whenever I can. It’s so much easier just not having to think about what to do to fill the time. Without the patterns, it’s work to fill the void, which can only result in loneliness, my greatest fear.


Connor and I had the pattern down. Time, bored, text, drive, smoke. So much contentment lay in that cycle. Sometimes I just want to go back to the comfort of the predictability. In the middle of it actually happening I hope it never ends. The grass is always greener I guess. But really, what do patterns accomplish besides monotony? I think the idea is, that when monotony is with another person it’s not really monotonous. You have these moments of clarity when just sitting on a hill, even if you’re up there every night just letting go of everything besides just learning about the people you went up there with. There’s something about hiking a hill, a good playlist, and the city lights that can really put the mind at ease. Even if there’s something inherently wrong with needing to escape at all.



english lane - mac miller





memories Fond, golden, shimmering memories


They’re the ones that warm you inside. The memories of the times you were at your happiest, or most satisfied. They also give you an ideal to strive for. But, if you’re not careful, they warp everything in front of you. They can drain the color from the present like a grayscale filter. Memories trick. They’re the context that you associate people with. If a person in the moment doesn’t correspond with the person or experience in those memories then you become confused then you spiral then you hate yourself for it and then you come crashing back down when you realize it’s all in your head and that you’re just bat shit crazy then you doubt and look back and say shit that really wasn’t that great it was just smoking it was just climbing hills it was just whatever the fuck it was a memory not real not coming back fucking golden. Then the person from that memory comes back and you’re brought back into the world that the memory took place in. More like mercury…fluid and toxic



no way - the naked and famous



changes And in an instant, everything’s different. These years are so strange; living a double life. The planes may as well be capsules to different dimensions. The “Now Boarding” announcement at LAX might as well be pushing a pause button. Every flight is a pause button on a different journey.


Even people who we leave with aren’t really leaving with you because that version of them only exists in one place at one time. It’s another just one of the continuous changes. Every flight also hits resume. There’s so much dissatisfaction with that way of living. As soon as something becomes the norm it’s time to uproot everything again. To love both equally is impossible. Those two halves shadow each other and become this elephant in the room. A shadow that is a constant reminder to enjoy the moment I’m in, while it lasts. The time in between these flights, these wormholes starts to warp. The change becomes what you live for. The day to day is lost. Then it’s time for another flight.



someday believers - portugal. the man

limitless 52

There’s just so much that I want to do. Horizon might be one of those overused words, but I don’t see a line on this one. Memories, changes, patterns, influence, moments, ghosts of the past, are just part of this vast possibility, limitless possibilities that are open to me, if I stop dwelling on things that I either have no control over; or things that are just over. I want to be that person who you’ll find in the places I’ve never been to. I’ve never been to Tulsa where Larry Clark shared his most intimate moments. I’ve never been to Omaha where Connor Oberst started Bright Eyes. I’ve never been to Medford, Wisconsin, where Justin Vernon wrote his love letter to Emma. These are just examples of the vast world I’ve never been to; so many places where things happened that have given me a path in this life and goals and context and knowledge and inspiration for something else and repeat. I’ll come back changed.



the new year - death cab for cutie

branches I was born in Pasadena, CA, one of the many cities and neighborhoods that we collectively call Los Angeles. You go somewhere else and you’ll get one of two reactions when you tell someone you’re from LA. The first is a sense of awe, and that inevitable question, “Have you ever met anyone famous?” The other is borderline dreadful, like the “Oh God how do you deal with the traffic?” or the “Isn’t it super dirty there?”


LA is where the broken flock to. I’ve heard someone say that if you’re from there, then you’re not quite as fucked up. I’m not sure which one of those statements I really believe, if either. One quote that I know I do believe though is from Crash, in my opinion, the best LA movie ever made. “It’s the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other. just so we can feel something.” We buzz around this sprawling metropolis in our cars, or more accurately, scoot around this sprawling metropolis stuck in traffic. In a place so vast, it’s so easy to become isolated among the millions. When you’re Downtown, you have no awareness of Sunland; when you’re somewhere in the Westside, South Central is a vague cultural reference; when you’re in the South Bay, Pasadena is a distant idea. Until you climb a hill, and everything finally makes sense. Everything seems unified. The isolation becomes comforting. You can see everything. I climb that hill, and I see all the opportunity this place offers, despite the dirt, the traffic. I see nothing but chance.



l.a. - elliott smith

roots Self-doubt, speaking personally, has been my biggest struggle. I have this incredible lack of self-esteem when it comes to relationships. I have this anxiety that causes me to pick at my fingers until they bleed. None of it makes me feel better. In fact, it just hurts other people. I dread quiet because it means I have to think about things. I have this idea that the world is out to get me, so I act selfishly as a defense mechanism.


So, the question is, how do you live a life where you really have no idea who you are? How do you fulfill your potential when you don’t even know what you want? How do you take chances that aren’t life threatening, but life fulfilling? How do you just, live? I asked questions that I would have rather forgotten to ask. I wanted answers. I looked to my left, to my right, up, down; I found that the only way to look is forward. I had to learn to leave the past behind having learned from it. After all, it’ll always be a part of who I am. Asking those questions brought me back home. Before I was just running. Running from a fight. It’s still an everyday fight. Let the fists fly.



cigarette daydream - cage the elephant





suggested listening: wild - parade of lights the art of peer pressure - kendrick lamar divided - tegan and sara youth - daughter down in the valley - the head and the heart bill murray - phantogram feel it all around - washed out ride - lana del rey tennis court - lorde austere - the joy formidible days - the drums paradise - city and colour a beginner’s guide to destroying the moon - foster the people english lane - mac miller no way - the naked and famous someday believers - portugal. the man the new year - death cab for cutie l.a. - elliott smith cigarette daydreams - cage the elephant “Idk whats going on here yo.” Sean Eckhardt is a journalist and student at Loyola Marymount University. He has photographed subjects including Sara Bareilles, Muse, Youngbloode Hawke, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Sen. Patrick Leahy, and others. He is also the co-host of the SHE and Millie Podcast. Sean lives in Los Angeles. © 2014 sean eckhardt photography • all rights reserved this eBook was designed by sean eckhardt author’s photo by brooke williams

playlist on spotify written and photographed by sean eckhardt @sean_eckhardt


a visual journal by los angeles artist sean eckhardt

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