George Byrne: LA Story
“The series is both a love letter to LA, and a question. It’s also a place where I’ve been able draw inspiration from some of my biggest creative influences – David Hockney, Richard Deibenkorn, Jeffrey Smart, Mondrian, R. B. Kitaj, Hopper and others.
The sky, the space, the freedom I feel here is real and unmatched. It’s a place I feel completely at ease to be whoever I want, and do whatever I want. A big, mad, unpretentious, bleached-out playground for human expression and struggle. Locals are proud but they can also laugh and shrug their shoulders at the city they love. It’s daunting and dynamic in equal parts. It’s also a place going through endless rejuvenation and renovation. New things pop up and old things crumble, back to back, a seemingly endless cycle.
This series began after moving to LA, buying an iPhone and starting an Instagram gallery. I was very inspired by the LA landscape, I also found the inherent limitations of the digital camera and Instagram format forcing me to shoot in a very specific way. The immediate feedback that social media provides became an important factor in shaping and evolving the work. For the first time in my life as an artist I was having a live debate on every image I was to publish. I found the whole thing quite thrilling, an addictive post-modern collaborative process. Photography wise, this format is an exercise in reduction, pure composition and colour balance. Less is more, but too little is also a miss. Much like Twitter is to writing, the challenge with Instagram photography is to create the ultimate visual bite with very basic equipment and very little space. Camera knowledge becomes redundant, it’s all what you see and how you see it. Put it in the frame and press the button. It’s the ultimate equaliser as we all have the same gear. The other factor is tending to the look feel and flow of your gallery.
I found myself relishing this challenge to the point that it’s completely changed my broader creative process.”
George Byrne is a photographer, artist and musician living and working in LA. He’s always got a new project on the go with someone, somewhere. Look him up next time you’re in town.
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