Artist Statement - Southland
These images are from a current series of work, Southland, that I began in 2009. They mark my continued interest in making photographs that explore the environment and our ambiguous relationship to it.
On the one hand, these images are invested in a specific sense of place: the Los Angeles landscape of currently dis-used spaces. These discarded sites have historically been considered civically or culturally valuable. Considering the cyclical nature of time and renewal, they will, at some point in the future, once again regain a useful vitality of some sort. Currently, however, they lie fallow.
The generic, lack of specificity of these “in-between” sites is equally compelling in the larger conversation; they don’t necessarily read as Los Angeles, or California, or even America. They could be anywhere. Which they may as well be; these remnant land-tracts are everywhere.
At one end of the spectrum, these images exemplify a classic example of nature’s grandeur and benign beauty. In counterpoint to this benevolence lies a darker undercurrent. The relationship between the two is charged, hard to pin down. Ultimately though, they are two sides to the same coin. This interests me.
I consider these photos revisionist landscapes. They exist in the space between traditional, historical landscape painting and vehemently realist photographs—they are documents of our time, showing us what this place look liked on a certain day at a certain time. I don’t set out with a set agenda to address a specific issue when I walk out into the landscape with my camera. I just go and I look, and then report back.