There is a place - the wildfires
Since 2016 I have photographed the diversity of urban culture in Los Angeles, a vast multitude of cities and suburbs that connect uninterrupted across miles and miles of land; each neighborhood defined by its individual characteristics. The work offsets the disparities and contradictions of urban culture by juxtaposing them with images of light, color and lines as a visual departure to the dividing force of city life. Today’s contentious and divisive political atmosphere inspired this project as a visual response to integrate and commemorate urban diversity. Observing the contrasting lives found in the vastly differing neighborhoods of Los Angeles I seek out moments to create a visual place of quiet and an elusive sense of connection in spite of the disparities. Here, the discrepancies of urban culture are offset in stillness as if the diverging flow comes to a temporary pause. Wildfires have become an integral part of this project. I spent particular time investigating the historic Woolsey Fire of 2018 in Southern California that burned with the speed of 80 football fields a minute through the Santa Monica Mountains while nearly 300,000 people were evacuating. I recorded the disaster's strange aftermath of debris fields with memories in ashes and the black nudity of a landscape rich and verdant before. Flash floods followed as spring rains fell onto the denuded terrain creating destruction in their path leaving piles of mud and rocks to be cleared from properties and roadways. Then with a beautiful turn of growth and an explosive abundance of wildflowers the process of ecological succession brought the hillsides of the Santa Monica Mountains back to vibrant life. As the images show us what has been lost, we are reminded of just how fragile life really is, perhaps only a borrowed time before a lifetime is returned to dust.