Because of course one of the weird things about photography is that we don’t make anything really. Everything we show you already is out there.
Well I’m Mark Ruwedel and we are in Long Beach were in my well I’m not sure if it’s the studio I live in or the house that I work in. Most of my work from graduate school on has been made with view cameras. The last 20 year 4” by 5” inch plate cameras, so this is a tripod mounted camera. One sheet of film you’re looking at this image upside down and averted because there’s no mirrors in the camera, under a cloth so you can see it clearly, its projected on a grid. It really sort of encourages the finicky if you will. I fuss a lot in the darkroom; I mean my black and white work is all traditional analogue printing. When I’m out making pictures, exposing film, I like to just concentrate on what I’m looking at and not the equipment.
You know I was attracted to certain kinds of landscapes, a very barren, isolated sort of alienating landscapes and I think because I was never interested in like sort of what is naively called pure landscape photography, pure nature or something.
People sometimes say I hear you used to be a painter and I said no I was a student painter. In a course of study, I discovered photography. I bumped into topographical work of Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz and stuff, and I think that just there’s just something about the subject matter as well as the art that really interested me. What I thought of as the base genre of landscape photography exemplified by all the millions of calendars, was actual a really interesting place to make a kind a contemporary kind of art but also it provided a vehicle for social inquiry.
A friend of mine who’s a kind of avid, he’s an historian and an avid urban hiker. He walked across Los Angeles, I guess two or three years ago now. Over a period of several days, he chartered a very particular route that would cross as many geographic and economic and cultural boundaries and borders as possible, and then walk for 72 and a half miles over a couple of days in a row and wrote a book about it. He asked me if I would be interested in photographing it, so this is this other kind of mapping Los Angeles project I’m involved in. I’m interested in the kind of artistic history of the city but also the big crazy mess of what it looks like and all the differences, so some of this is coming out of that, some of these weird little houses that I was interested in, not just because of the style or the architecture but because they seemed like little islands because they don’t appear in like residential neighbourhoods, they’re kind of like I don’t know they look like to me that they fell out of the sky or that somehow they were forgotten and the world around them changed.