We blew past the line with the sale of George Underwood’s Rope Swing. Any pledge made from hereon out will extend the edition run and improve paper quality. Thank you all so much for the support… the reception has been overwhelming!
Look out for a final video we’re making, a short clip with a preview of photographers in the book. It’s coming out Monday, when we have just two days left on the clock. I suppose we don’t really need to make it anymore, but we’re doing it anyway. Besides, Pablo is doing a fantastic job with it and I can’t wait for you all to see it.
J. Wesley Brown’s vivid nighttime portraits of bus riders are a refreshing look at a seldom-seen side of Los Angeles. The city’s clogged interchanges are almost iconic, but for many people who live there, these bus stop dwellers represent an even more authentic feeling of home.
Wired is featuring my Riders series today. Shot entirely from a car at stop lights over two and a half years and with the help of friends and assistants who drove, Riders focuses on what to me is the most outward sign of class divide in Los Angeles - car vs. bus. It was an attempt at solving the problem of how to do a series of street photography about Los Angeles but at night with only ambient light.
I also just put some of the series up on my website. It would mean a lot to me if you’d take a look there also.
The size isn’t the result of a Napoleon complex or even really the desire to make a cannonball-sized splash. The monster page count comes from a need to showcase the sheer amount of smart contemporary American photography — images that all too often only exist online.
WIRED Raw File posted a wonderful article about our project. We sent them 12 exclusive photographs (a few of the best) from the book, so be sure to give them a look!
In his essay entitled ‘The Storyteller’ Walter Benjamin confronts us with the image of a WW1 soldier, standing in a valley transformed by technological destruction, unable to share his experience – to speak. ‘Was it not noticeable’, he writes,
at the end of the war that men returned from the battlefield grown silent – not richer, but poorer in communicable experience? A generation that had gone to school on a horse-drawn streetcar now stood under the open sky in a countryside in which nothing remained unchanged but the clouds, and beneath these clouds in a field of force of destructive torrents and explosions, was the tiny, fragile human body.
This stark image reveals something fundamental to the modern condition – the sense in which, the more the world is transformed by the forces and effects of technological development, the more the human is exposed as a frail animal. The harder we try to protect ourselves from the threat of nature, the more deeply we rediscover this fundamental inseparability. Part of the way we experience this is through our slow individual and special pace of change in relation to the self-reinforcing speed of technological-becoming. The erratic pace of our developmental growth, our ageing and degeneration, our bursts of energy and exhaustion only serve to remind us of the profound difference between our bodily selves and the accelerating machines and systems we build to serve, replace or annihilate them. According to Benjamin, there is something in this asymmetry that renders us mute. Why is this, and what has the intensification of automation and computation got to do with communicable experience and knowledge?