Book Review: "Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed"
When you think about the last 30-plus years of prevailing subcultural trends and iconography, Ed Templeton’s life could be the Mapquest guiding us to some sort of understanding. He is a touchstone; skateboarding star, skate brand owner, photographer, painter, writer, and a physical embodiment of the crossroads of all these artistic and creative endeavors. Plus, perhaps more importantly for how his career evolved, his aesthetic was about Southern California as seen not from Hollywood films or TV series, but that of a real homegrown icon. California is both a place of dreams but with a certain kind of rawness that is rarely understood until one spends time here, and Templeton brought that courage to show the state for what it was in exhibitions around the world.
Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed, published by Aperture Books, is over 264 pages of his photography and unique presentation of such, with text scribbles and notes underneath black and white landscapes and skate scenes, poetic and versed in an almost Beat Generation lyricism. What grows from the book is the idea of friendship and camaraderie, what a life on the road meant to a young man finding his artistic voice outside of professional skating and into the realm of contemporary art. You can feel the vastness of his life in each photo. The word punk is often thrown around as if throwing an apple core out your window on the highway, a casual sort of blase that doesn’t quite sit right. But Templeton is a punk in the truest sense because he wrote his own rules, performed his own rules, and documented his own rules in a way that led the groundwork for a whole generation of kids picking up their first camera or an IG hustler finding their way. He is the real, real deal. —Evan Pricco
Aperture Books, aperture.org