Early settlers dubbed California the Golden State and the land of milk and honey. Today, there are the obvious ironies – the sprawl, the spaghetti joints and the skid row – but the place is not so easily distilled or visualised, either as a clichéd paradise or as its demise. There is a strange harmony when everything is seen together – the sublime, the psychedelic, the self-destructive. Like all places, it is unpredictable and contradictory, but at extremes. Cultures and histories coexist, the beautiful sits next to the ugly, the redemptive next to the desperate, and all under a strange and singular light, as transcendent as it is harsh.
The images in this book begin in the desert east of Los Angeles and move westward through the city, ending in the Pacific. This general westward movement alludes to a thirst for water, as well as to America’s original expansion, which was born in the East and greedily rushed West until it reached the Pacific, thus fulfilling its “manifest” destiny.
The people, places and animals in the book existed before Halpern’s camera, but he has stitched these photographs into a work of fiction or fantasy – a structure, sequence and montage that, like Los Angeles itself, teeters on the brink of collapse under the weight of its own oddly shaped mass.
- Mack Books
- Language English
- Format29 x 24 cm