All posts tagged: Los Angeles

Lucas Blalock’s An Enormous Oar

Shooting meticulously set-up still lifes on film with a large format camera, Lucas Blalock scans his images and digitally manipulates them, creating tricksy, mind-bending work that plays with the boundary between reality and fiction. Now it’s fashionable to talk about fake news, but Blalock got in early, poking holes in our trust in images. 

It’s earned him an enviable career, with books published by respected outfits such as Morel Books and Self Publish, Be Happy, and solo exhibitions at private galleries such as the White Cube. Now he’s got his first solo show at a public gallery in the US, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles, where he’s showing images made since 2014. Initially he might have seemed part of a movement, but Blalock has carved out a career on his own. 

2019-04-30T17:35:51+01:00

Golden Hour by KangHee Kim

When Kanghee Kim started making photographs, it was out of frustration. Due to visa complications, Kim hasn’t been able to leave the US for 10 years, even to visit her relatives back home in Korea, because her entry back into the states isn’t guaranteed. Now 27, Kim moved to New York with her family when she was 14. Getting a green card should have been simple – at the time there was a need for more nurses in the states, and her mother was helping to fill that gap – but their lawyer missed a deadline, and Kim was never able to secure a citizenship. Eventually, she was protected under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, but her status has made leaving the country too much of a risk. “I really miss Korea, especially over the last few years,” she says. “Korea is the motherland. Whenever I see photos or hear about it I feel a bit torn.” Kim didn’t get into photography until her final year of studying painting at Maryland Institute College …

2019-01-31T16:20:03+01:00

Anthony Hernandez: 45 years on show in Madrid

“People always ask me why I stopped photographing people,” says Anthony Hernandez, who in the mid-1980s, moved away from the black-and-white street photographs that had made his name. He was 17 years into his career and an artist in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, when he made the shift; initially thinking to photograph the infamous strip, he ended up travelling into the desert and making pictures of the left-over target shooter debris for what was to become a pivotal project, Shooting Sites. What Hernandez didn’t realise till many years later was that this shift was unconsciously connected to what he calls his first ever “photographic gesture” at 17 years old. It was an image, which is now sadly lost, of an empty lot strewn with rusting car parts and overgrown weeds. “You might say that the 35mm street photographs were the start of my career. Yes, I did do those, but the real beginning was that empty lot,” he says. “Why I was attracted to that, I don’t know.” Hernandez was born in Los …

2019-01-21T10:28:30+01:00

Vivian Maier: The Color Work

Since its discovery in 2009, Vivian Maier’s work – and her life – has attracted global attention. It been exhibited all over the world, featured in mainstream media outlets, and circulated in multiple books and films. Even so, many details of the American street photographer’s life remains a mystery.

We know that she worked as a nanny for 40 years in Chicago, and that she liked to spend time walking the streets, taking photographs with her Rolleiflex camera – with and without the children she was looking after. We also know that Maier took more than 150,000 photographs, many of which remain unseen, mostly of the people and architecture in Chicago, New York and LA, but also of herself, and her young charges. 

2018-12-04T11:36:20+01:00

New Artists at Brooklyn’s Red Hook Labs

Launched last year, Labs New Artists is a exhibition of up-and-coming artists at the prestigious not-for-profit gallery, which has spaces in Brooklyn and in Los Angeles. The photographers picked out aren’t represented by galleries or agencies, and are selected by a global jury of experts; this year, each juror has agreed to mentor an artist for the year following the show.

The 25 artists in the show this year are: Antone Dolezal, US; Eli Durst, US; Peyton Fulford, US; Matthew Genitempo, US; Rudi Geyser, South Africa; Li Hui, China; Andrew Jacobs, US; Brendan George Ko, Canada; Kovi Konowiecki, US; Maria Lokke, US; Daniel Jack Lyons, US; Pat Martin, US; Chase Middleton, Australia; Tyler Mitchell, US; Diego Moreno, Mexico; John Francis Peters, US; Luis Alberto Rodriguez, Germany; Scandebergs, UK; Marcus Schäfer, UK; Hugo Scott, UK; Christopher Smith, South Africa; Renate Ariadne Van Der Togt, UK; Drew Vickers, US; Juyan Wang, UK; and Logan White, US.

2018-06-18T11:03:52+01:00

Christopher Bethell traces his grandfather’s wayward steps across the US

The medium of photography is inherently entwined with memory and nostalgia, especially when it relates to family history. For Christopher Bethell, the recollections of his American grandfather, Joseph ‘Joey’ O’Donnell, were shaped by the few photographs he saw of his relative while growing up in the seemingly unglamorous northern town of Stockport, England. Joey passed away when Bethell was a baby, and the photographer developed a fiction around him – that of a jazz musician who had left his family for a doomed second shot at his career, before falling for the temptations of Las Vegas and ending up in an early grave. Yet when he eventually sat down with his grandmother to find out what she remembered of Joey and their life together in the US, he uncovered “a story that was far more complex and much less cinematic”. In an attempt to deconstruct his own romanticised timeline of his grandfather and – as a dual citizen of the UK and the US – to discover America for himself, Bethell took a six-week road trip taking in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reno and Seattle in 2015, ending the journey in Clarkston, Washington, where his grandfather had settled at the end of his life. The subsequent series is affectionately titled The Duke of Earl, a reference to the song by Gene Chandler, which Joey had sung to his future wife the first time they met. Divided into four chapters, Bethell’s images are prefaced with a family photograph of Joey, each followed by its inscription on the back, penned by Joey.

2018-01-23T13:55:06+01:00

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium

Robert Mapplethorpe tried his hand at a startlingly extensive range of artistic forms over the course of his 20-year career – from sculpture and drawing to collage and construction – but it was photography, the most instantaneous and intimate of all those he employed, which he found best suited his needs. Now, following the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and neighbouring J Paul Getty Museum’s acquisition of the vast body of work he created in the 1970s and ’80s, the two institutions hold complementary retrospective presentations, together titled Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium (showing mid-March to the end of July) to highlight different aspects of his oeuvre. The show, which will tour to Montreal, Sydney and beyond, takes as its underlying theme the ‘inherent dualities’ that characterised Mapplethorpe’s practice, explains Britt Salvesen, LACMA’s head of photography and the curator of the exhibition. “He seemed to enjoy playing with those contrasts between his downtown reputation as a rebel and a provocateur, and his uptown reputation as a maker of beautiful society portraits and floral still lifes. We took that as a point …

2016-03-24T12:42:58+01:00

Spot the ball: Robin Maddock’s uncompromising, ambiguous vision of California

From the title of his photographic blog, Ugly Moments Strung Together, you sense that Robin Maddock is prone to critical self-analysis and distrust of aesthetic purity. Despite having two well-received photobooks already published by Trolley (or maybe because of it), Maddock says that he felt disoriented and perplexed when it came to finding inspiration for a new project or approach to work towards. His third book, III, also published by Trolley and shot largely in the harshly-lit urban topography of Los Angeles and San Francisco, is the culmination of this period of introspection and points to a future direction of enquiry that seems at odds with his documentary roots. His first book, Our Kids Are Going To Hell (2009), resulted from his work following police on raids in Hackney. The second, God Forgotten Face (2011), shot in his home town of Plymouth, was already more introspective, even if it remained recognisable as a documentary project, capturing the city as a kind of microcosm of Little England. Or so Maddock thought when he started, thinking of it as a kind of …

2016-01-13T14:44:56+01:00

George Byrne uses Los Angeles to study loneliness

“Photography is a funny game,” says LA-based photographer George Byrne. “It’s a lonely sport – you’re on your own, on an obscure mission to capture something and you don’t often know what you’re looking for but you know when you see it.” Byrne moved from Sydney to Melbourne, then experienced New York for one year before settling in Los Angeles – without much money or knowledge of the city – in 2011. The alien quality of his photographs stems from this personal distance from LA. “A lot of the time I’m shooting in LA I feel like I’m at war,” he says. “It’s like a desert. I’m a very white person and I get burned. I get so much satisfaction out of making pictures that beautify this bizarre landscape because it’s quite difficult to do it. People will keep their window up and the pedal pressed.” Byrne documents the LA streetscape, driving and shooting in sweltering temperatures in search of shadows and symmetry. He frames a pastel narrative of the sun-blasted walls lining the roads. Few …

2015-08-28T13:35:02+01:00

How did a Scottish photographer get inside America’s strip club scene?

How did Ivar Wigan, a Perth-born, London-based photographer, infiltrate feared gangs and Atlanta strip clubs? “I lived in this motel and went to the club every night for eight or nine weeks,” he says of his series The Gods, recently exhibited at P-A-M, “until I knew all the dancers, all the security, I knew the management, the bar staff, I was the guy who was there every night.” The Gods focuses on the street culture of America’s southern cities; Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles. The communities depicted — largely black, often deprived of resources and driven to alternative sources of income — represent a side of America that inspire fear and fascination in equal measure among many of its inhabitants. There is a charged dynamic implicit in a middle-class, European photographer documenting their lives for consumption in the cosy environs of a west London art gallery. Wigan distances himself from a grander, societal interpretation of his photos and stresses that his motives were relatively simple: “I was really looking to see what made this scene tick, …

2015-08-14T12:16:24+01:00

BJP Staff