The photographs from the series, Sublime: The L.A. River, chronicle the Los Angeles River, an urban waterway that runs through the Western metropolis. The impetus behind these images was not to document the current state of the 51-mile river that was once the lifeblood of the early settlers and is now encased in concrete. In this body of work, the river is presented as metaphor, highlighting the ebb and flow between civilization and savagery, the cycle of social and cultural development, and the descent into ruin and back again.
The multilayered photographs were constructed by means of intentional aesthetic decisions involving the combination of dozens—and sometimes hundreds—of individual details. The landscapes highlight the fraught relationship between the natural and the man-made. A bucolic wildlife scene that is reminiscent of 18th century landscape painting is littered with garbage and personal belongings. Hungry coyotes roam the concrete riverbed, sniffing at elaborate homeless encampments. Blue herons quietly stalk nourishment in the shallow waters next to a shoot for a car commercial. The river, both disquieting and sublime, was my companion over the course of two years. These photographs, comprised of both original and historic imagery, are inspired by a very real place that is ultimately revealed as unreal, perhaps even surreal.