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Day 57: [SPECIAL] Stop And Admire The Sizzler

16 Jul

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Today I bring you a special blogpost! So enjoy!

Stop And Admire The Sizzler by Alex Marga

The Real Reed Fish

“One of the things that we’re looking for is that we’re trying to bring out the beauty in everyday objects, the beauty of the Sizzler restaurant… And every Sizzler is beautiful in it’s own way.” It was evident after just one phone call that Reed Fish is no ordinary man. While he and his wife Liz may cook dinner, open bottles of wine, go to concerts, and walk down streets just like everyone else, they use creativity to show us the world in a unique way.

The Fishs have mastered it all: Reed’s movie I’m Reed Fish (2006), starring up-and-coming actor Jay Baruchel, is still receiving fans three years after its release; the photography he works on with his wife is giving people a different perspective of simple things (like Sizzlers and loaves of bread); and their 10 second moments, currently filmed each day for the year 2010, are providing a way to stay creative throughout the year. But for Reed and Liz, being artistic is just a way of life: “It sounds a little cheesy I think, but I’m an artist, whether I write or direct movies or make visual art, you know, build photography. It’s all part of the same thing for me.”

Their work focuses mainly on the perspective of the creator, often testing the audience to develop their own ideas of what the art should mean. As a personal goal from college, Reed and Liz are on a journey to take a photograph of every location of the Sizzler restaurant chain in the United States. Displaying the pictures on their website, “The Fishes Love You,”* allows anyone to see their project in progress. But one aesthetic detail had me wondering what its purpose is. When asked why all the photos are blurry, Reed replied, “We’re not giving you a location of where the Sizzler is… In America, whether you live in Seattle or you live in Los Angeles, or you live in New York or wherever, chances are you eat at the same restaurants… It could be anywhere.” This is not the only example of perspective working for a purpose.

In his movie I’m Reed Fish, the perspective starts off in the normal, traditional “movie” setting: the audience is watching a series of events happening to a group of people in a small town. But soon, the real perspective comes into play: what the viewer thought was a normal indie romantic comedy cuts into a first-person account of the main character making a movie of the events that transpired. By taking this non-traditional turn, the viewer is given a chance to see the creator’s perspective on his own life.

The Ten Second Moment project of 2010 has really stressed what the Fishs want to say about the world. “We’re really trying to take the opportunity to examine things that people don’t normally examine,” said Reed, “and to find the beauty in these moments and these things and these places that people don’t normally stop and see the beauty in.” Each ten second clip features a different aspect of normal life: day #68, also called “Breeze,” is ten seconds of a breeze through the trees; while day #122, also called “Bed-head,” features Reed with an extreme case of bed-head. “There’s beauty in your ceiling fan going around,” said Reed, “… you can’t spend your life looking at the ceiling fan, seeing how beautiful it is… We both think it’s really worth while to occasionally stop and notice these things and see how beautiful they are.”

While the Fishs are happy people in general, their projects are not afraid to take a look at the dark side. “We’re not going to shy away from the dark things in our work, but we titled our website ‘The Fishes Love You’ … We wanna put good feelings out there. And for us a lot of our work is about the beauty of the every day, where we have the little projects, like the boxes of tissue… every slice in a loaf of bread, and you know what? Those objects are beautiful too… If you give them, some attention, put some nice lighting on them, and you take the time to actually look at them, you can really see the beauty in them.”

Through their photography, movies, and ten-second moments, the Fishs are opening up the eyes of their audience to a world already around us. They are giving us the opportunity to see something beautiful. Like Reed said, “Life is… fast pace. If you don’t take the time to stop and… you know I don’t wanna say smell the roses, but stop and… admire the Sizzler…” we might miss it.

Here is the preview for his movie I’m Reed Fish

*The link seems to be experiencing difficulties. I’ll edit it as soon as it’s back up!

I’d like to thank Reed Fish for giving up some time to talk to me on a great Saturday afternoon. It means a lot to talk to someone cool like you!!