131221 Sunken City II - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto
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My project for December, The Edges of Sunken City, is now up in the Projects section of this website. I've photographed this part of Los Angeles many times over many years, but this past November was the first time I went in with an overarching idea for a project. All other times, including in September of this year, I was simply trying to record the current and always-changing shape of the land itself.

Edges have power, so I was looking for these breaks in the continuity of the land to tell some of its  story. Heaved, fractured, and fallen, the original roadbed is recognizable from some angles, and a mosaic of random block from others. Having slipped and eroded below the level of the surrounding city, this creates an appealing canvas for anyone with a spray can, but it's also a popular spot for first-date walks and family outings.

I knew the project's final form would be a web presentation, so my goal was to gather diverse material without worrying about formality or shot-to-shot consistency. All of the photos were then put through their process and winnowed out: 682 photos were recorded, 102 put through secondary processing, 34 made it to final consideration, and ten were posted as part of the sequence, with an eleventh as an establishing image.

From a rather free-wheeing beginning structure still emerged. Eight out of the ten+one images in the series were taken with my Nikon D800 and 60mm macro lens; the establishing shot, like the opening image, was taken with my 35mm wide-angle. There is one other 'wide' shot snuck into the grouping, but it still has the composition of a long lens, making it blend in inconspicuously.

Of the 34 photographs that made it to final consideration, less than half were taken with that 60mm lens; five are from my Ricoh GR and its ultra-wide 28mm-equivalent lens. Projects have their own needs.  The other photos will still find life in places like this, or as other series and sets that will emerge over time. Some of them may even become prints, but it's too soon to tell which ones or how many.

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