To see something spectacular and recognize it as a photographic possibility is not making a very big leap. But to see something ordinary, something you’d see every day, and recognize it as a photographic possibility - that is what I am interested in.
In the 2011 essay 'Form and Pressure', Stephen Shore recalls that he was drawn to the scene depicted in La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, June 21, 1975 because, ‘it seemed to be such a quintessential Los Angeles experience: the gas stations, the jumble, the signage, the space.’ He explains that he was interested in, ‘seeing how many of these interstices I could juggle on a single image.’ In the spirit of New Topographic photography, Shore defies past standards of sublime natural panorama in the framing of this iconic image, choosing instead to focus on the municipal hardware of the streets. The hazy mountains are lost in the background – flat and illusory like the backdrop of a Hollywood set.
This is the third portfolio in The La Brea Matrix project co-published by The Lapis Press (Culver City, CA) and Schaden.com (Köln, Germany). It is a special printing of La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, June 21, 1975 and La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, June 22, 1975 by Stephen Shore; the portfolio also includes a recent interview conducted by Dr. Christoph Schaden with Stephen Shore discussing the history and reason why he took the La Brea image and why he felt compelled to return to the same intersection the following day to take a second photograph.