I took a Polaroid in 2000 of a mural that was near my old junior high. I showed it to the singer-songwriter Elliott Smith and we decided to shoot there. It became the cover of his album Figure 8. The funny thing is that for years I used to pass that mural every day and think, That is the ugliest mural I have ever seen in my life. It was next to a McDonald’s where the kids in my school that were in gangs would meet to fight off-campus. That was where the showdowns were, especially the girl fights. They were bloody and brutal. Next to this bloodbath over burgers was a stereo repair shop with this obnoxious mural painted over the entire wall. The whole block looked like hell. Over time I started to become obsessed with it. I couldn’t explain why, but I felt compelled to show it to Elliott. Maybe the brutality of the fights I witnessed next door snuck into the story of that photo. Something was so wrong that eventually it was right.”

- Autumn De Wilde on the famous Elliott Smith mural

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