CAMERA ARTISTS / Limited Edition Portfolio
10 original signed and numbered photographs (32,9 x 48,3 cm / 13 x 19 in - size of paper)
124 page book (23 x 31 cm / 9 x 12 in)
Each photo is printed on Hahnemühle Baryta FB 350 gsm and protected by Terphane sleeves.
The photos and book are contained in a labeled custom made canvas clamshell box.
Each box is individually numbered.
Edition of 5 copies plus 2 Artist Proof and 2 hors commerce.
MEGA + TINY = AMERICA
I first began noticing small businesses in Los Angeles when I opted for my bicycle instead of driving a car. When my pace slowed down, the city grew more alive, and one of the features I found most striking was the number of these small places of business. The structures are monuments to modesty, human in scale and basic in function, streamlined, simple, and effective spaces appropriate both to the landscape and to their singular purpose.
I identified with these places and thought they might identify with me. Me: alone, on a bike, in a sea of SUVs. Small businesses: getting lost in a landscape of big box stores. Both of us: protected and endangered, invisible and obvious, sometimes overlooked, part of the fabric of the city.
A few years later, I saw an article in the paper about the rise of the evangelical “megachurch.” Riding through the city, it wasn’t a phenomena I saw on the streets. These megachurches sprouted in suburbias and exurbias, gathering together masses of people to worship and sing. Trends of what was being preached to crowds in these large congregations were disturbing — the church was a site both for love, but also a place for hatred. Politicians courted churchgoers. Preachers weren’t supposed to talk explicitly about politics, but they did what they could. The church became a voting bloc. I didn’t know any people going to these oversized churches, but they existed, in great numbers.
I began taking pictures of megachurches in an attempt to understand what was going on in America, how ideology is reflected in the landscape, as a counter project to making pictures of small businesses. We are comfortable with extremes here. Gigantic/tiny. Spiritual/capitalist. Sterile/cozy. Crowded/ solo. “It takes a village”/self reliant. God/money. Oversized/quaint. Right/ Left. Red/Blue.
The small free-standing business and the massive “megachurch” are not the most common types of buildings in America, but they speak obnoxiously about what we like to talk about in public as Americans, what politicians harangue about, our ideas about ourselves as a state and a culture and a people. On one hand, the small free-standing business embodies ideas about capitalism, individual responsibility, freedom of expression, endless possibility. On the other hand, the megachurch speaks of family, faith, conservative morality, and community. Combine those ideas and you’ve pretty much got it, America in a nutshell. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and let go, let God.
Lisa Anne Auerbach, 2016