This project began as a portrait of my old neighborhood, an area of Los Angeles near MacArthur Park called Westlake. Collected over a period of one year, this series represents a cross-section of my daily surroundings. All of these locations could be found within a one mile radius of my apartment. The pictures were not planned or composed in advance, and were taken while going through the course of normal, everyday activities; walking to work, going to school, getting groceries, or a bite to eat. In seeking to discover a subjective, expressionistic view of the daily environment, many aspects of the neighborhood were ignored. I was not intent on making an overt social statement, or having a political agenda.
These pictures are meant to viewed together as a series; an even hierarchy of vernacular imagery rather than a collection of beautiful photographs. Although focused on ordinary subjects that seem banal, there is an undercurrent of the bizarre, a sense of lurking danger and of impending unrest. It is a romantic view of a fallen world that many would choose to avoid.
This project was shot with a Diana, an inexpensive plastic-lensed camera that was once sold in toy stores. Using the Diana camera enables one to be anonymous; not looking like a photographer, you can be open about your activities, and yet be discrete. The Diana also allows one to shoot in a loose, intuitive manner. Free from worrying about technical matters, I capture my images by feel, fully aware of the environment, subconsciously discovering the poetry of the mundane.
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