/07 Trees

Alia Malley


These images are from my project Southland that I made between 2009-2011. They mark my continued interest in making photographs that explore the environment and our ambiguous relationship to it. On the one hand, these images are invested in a specific sense of place: the Los Angeles landscape of currently dis-used spaces. These discarded sites have historically been considered civically or culturally valuable. Considering the cyclical nature of time and renewal, they will, at some point in the future, once again regain a useful vitality of some sort. At the time these photographs were made, however, they lay fallow. The generic, lack of specificity of these “in-between” sites is equally compelling in the larger conversation; they donʼ t necessarily read as Los Angeles, or California, or even America. They could be anywhere. Which they may as well be; these remnant landtracts are everywhere. At one end of the spectrum, these images exemplify a classic example of natureʼs grandeur and benign beauty. In counterpoint to this benevolence lies a darker undercurrent. The relationship between the two is charged, hard to pin down. Ultimately though, they are two sides to the same coin. This interests me. I consider these photos revisionist landscapes. They exist in the space between traditional, historical representations of landscape pand vehemently realist photographs—they are documents of our time, showing us what this place look liked on a certain day at a certain time. I donʼt set out with a specific agenda to address a specific issue when I walk out into the landscape with my camera. I just go and I look, and then report back.