PDN Photo of the Day

A Personal and Mythological Los Angeles

Los Angeles appears as a series of mysterious and distinctly Western scenes in “Cerro Gordo,” David Black’s new show at The LODGE in Los Angeles, curated by Audrey Landreth and on view from January 13 to January 22 as part of Month of Photography Los Angeles. (A book of the same name was published recently by Hat & Beard Press.) “Cerro Gordo” is both a personal view of the city and a look at the invented images it has produced—its name comes from both the street in Echo Park where Black lived while he was making these images, and from a ghost town on the edge of Death Valley where silver used by Eastman Kodak to make film stock was once mined. Among the slightly ominous California motifs that Black explores are oil wells and muscle cars, and the cement bed of the Los Angeles River, where a choir sings in robes. Other images are more obviously threatening—there are appearances from the San Andreas Fault and a rattle snake that slides over a web of freeways. Most haunting is a picture of a cowboy on fire, the flames on his jacket silhouetted against a painted view of mountain peaks like a surreal Hollywood stunt. Together, the images feel like a darkened view of a mythical place.

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