The La Brea Matrix I

THE LA BREA MATRIX is a co-published project by The Lapis Press (Culver City, CA) and (Köln, Germany). 


As of 2011, three portfolios have been released under the moniker THE LA BREA MATRIX.  

The first portfolio is a selection of previously taken photographs by the six photographers. Spanning thirty years (1979 – 2009), the collection includes photographs taken in Germany (Sieber, Regenberg), Canada (Regenberg), Ethiopia (Unverzart), Sri Lanka (Unverzart), USA (Voit, Woltersmann), Japan (Sieber) and Kyrgyzstan (Liebchen).  


This multi-faceted and ambitious project invited six emerging German photographers to Los Angeles to investigate the influence of Stephen Shore and New American Color Photography from the 1970s. The cornerstone of the project is Stephen Shore’s now iconic photograph La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975, this photograph, is seen as not just a literal intersection but as a metaphoric intersection of the photographic dialog between America and Germany. 


The genesis of this dialog dates to 1976 when Bernd and Hilla Becher acquired a print of the image from Shore. When the Bechers returned to Germany, they began showing the photograph to their students at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. For years the Bechers promoted Shores’ work within the Kunstakademie but to their early students (Höfer, Hütte and Struth) the La Brea image was the first introduction to New American Color Photography. The La Brea image was also shown at Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany in 1977 (again with the help of Bernd Becher) and was included in Sally Eauclaire‘s watershed publication The New Color Photography in 1981.In 1979, Thomas Struth following his studies with the Bechers, released a series of black and white photographs taken in America, the project was called “Unconscious Places”, an obvious nod to Shore’s catalog “Uncommon Places” (which includes the La Brea image).


The photographers who were chosen for THE LA BREA MATRIX had each reflected on New American Color Photography with insightful and differing approaches in their work made prior to this project.


The six photographers are:

JENS LIEBCHEN (born in 1970)

MAX REGENBERG (born in 1951)

OLIVER SIEBER (born in 1966)

OLAF UNVERZART (born in 1972)

ROBERT VOIT (born in 1969)

JANKO WOLTERSMANN ( born in 1967)