Anthony Lepore is the most recent contributor to our Artists Respond series – artists creating web-based projects inspired by exhibitions on view at LACMA. Lepore chose Robert Adams: The Place We Live as his jumping-off point.
For his project, Night Walk, Lepore designed a map-based interface, populated with nighttime photos he took during walks in his Pasadena neighborhood.
LEPORE: The map image is a Google Earth image of the area where I live, in Pasadena. I wanted viewers to see the geographical relationship between the San Gabriel Mountains and the flats of suburban Pasadena.
From the map, you can select and view photographs Lepore made during evening walks around his neighborhood with his dog.
LEPORE: This is taken from Mount Lowe. It’s the highest mountain that you can easily climb to in the front range of the Angeles National Forest. We take friends here for our “Wow, LA isn’t what you expect” hike. The entire city sparkles beneath you. There’s a strange relationship between the quiet darkness of the mountains and the sea of electricity below.
A project by Robert Adams called Summer Nights informed Lepore’s approach.
LEPORE: Adams was making photographs on his summer evening walks around the Denver area. I love his nighttime photographs–there is something strange and extraterrestrial about this body of work. Adams hovers like a visitor around the edges of his city peering into lit windows and empty streets. The hot desert sun has been replaced by streetlamps and rolling carnival lights.
Adams is one of my favorite photographers, but when I first came across his work in college I found it a little boring. It took some time, and discovering Adam’s book Los Angeles Spring, for me to really connect with his photographs. They are quiet, precise, never wasteful and deeply human. They document an unsteady changing line between the wild and suburbia, carrying the echo of both a sunny hymn and a eulogy.
LEPORE: Recently, Pasadena was hit by a crazy windstorm. It was like a mad fever dream all night, like being on a small boat. Since then I’ve been gathering debris from the windstorm and making impromptu still lifes, like the picture of the daisy bush coming through the blinds. I found these blinds in the street – they had been blown off a house. The lighting comes from a security lamp on someone’s front lawn. I was excited to create something on my walks, using the evening darkness like a black studio backdrop.
Lepore says that growing up in Burbank, his own relationship to nature had been somewhat mediated. Through photography, he started to explore the landscape of Southern California.
LEPORE: My mom worked for Disney for most of my childhood, and we visited Disneyland often. I loved the way the shiny and molded landscapes tried so earnestly to recreate the wilderness. While some kids were hiking through the Sierras, I was zooming through the Matterhorn and rolling along the rivers of Splash Mountain.
Exploring the ways we recreate nature points to both our separation from it, and our deep need to be part of it. Nature exists for us in the way we mold it and the way we see it.
More about Anthony Lepore.