Unknowability

Lewis Baltz's photographs show things exactly for what they are and yet often they seem peculiarly interested in the unknowability of things.

His 'New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California' made in the early 1970s simultaneously reveal a surface with great fidelity while pointedly failing to penetrate beyond those surfaces. One of the things always I liked about the work, apart from the obvious fomal beauty, was the seeming lack of explanation about anything. In an interview with Jeff Rian Baltz simply says," They were from the area I drove through to go from where I lived in Laguna Beach to Claremont College where I taught. There was nothing in Irvine when I grew up, but things were going up fast".


His series made nearly twenty years later, 'Sites of Technology', moves from B&W pictures made outside to colour images made inside, and in Europe rather than North America although they could be taken anywhere really, in the post-industrial world. And these computer rooms have the same air of unknowability in that the function of the machines contained therein is invisible, they could be doing just about anything.





 

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