LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84
Artist(s)/Author(s): John Brian King
Format: Book
Number of Pages: 132
Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.75
ISBN: 978-1-943679-00-3
Publisher: Spurl Editions
Date Published/Produced: 11/2015
City Produced/Published: Sacramento
Reference Number: ST.31835.Ki
Location: Stacks
Acquisition Date: 11/13/2020
Copies: 1
Collection: John Burtle
Donated By: John Burtle

In the first series, “LAX” (62 photos, 35mm black-and-white film), photographer John Brian King engaged in street-style photography in one of the city’s most charged places: Los Angeles International Airport. Harried travelers, uniformed employees, and vacationers appear angered by the flash of King’s camera, too bored to care, or all-too-confident in this post-industrial setting. King’s series would be impossible today, as it exposes the uncomfortable chaos of airport existence before an era of obligatory surveillance. In the second series, “LA” (55 photos, 6x7cm black-and-white film), King photographed a city at night devoid of people. The photographs have an evidentiary quality: bizarre debris are framed in the center, isolated by a high-intensity flash. King captured these artifacts – from Sunset Strip nightclub posters to archaic ATMs to beautiful Hollywood Art Deco statues – with a blunt, direct aesthetic. The black-and-white film negatives of LAX remained in a box for thirty years; they have now reemerged as the unsettling traces of 1980s Los Angeles.

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