|Lewis Baltz, from The New Industrial Parks, 1974|
One of my favourite photographers.
Lewis Baltz' most famous series of photographs, The New Industrial Parks, Near Irvine, California (1973-75) offers a remarkable contrast to the traditional, Romantic concerns of landscape photography: instead of natural beauty and the sublime Baltz shows us the facades and structural details of anonymous, prefabricated industrial units and parking lots. While the series clearly constitutes a critique of urban sprawl - the relentless spread of a 'man-altered landscape' - at the same time Baltz' precise Minimal aesthetic, crisp, formal composition and attention to details and textures make these very beautiful pictures.
Baltz was included - alongside Robert Adams, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott, Stephen Shore Henry Wessel Jr, Bernd and Hilla Becher - in the seminal exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape in 1975 in which the participants collectively proposed an aesthetics of the banal.
In addition to The New Industrial Parks (1973-75), Baltz' work includes (amongst others): The Prototype Works (1967-76), Tract Houses (1971) and Sites of Technology (1989-91), from which the examples below are selected.
Read an obituaries by Gerry Badger and Sean O'Hagan; read the 'last interview' at L'Oeil de la Photographie; watch a short video of Baltz talking abut his work on the Tate website; read more interviews with, and articles about, Baltz at American Suburb X; read an article about New Topographics by Kelly Dennis: Landscape and the West: Irony and Critique in New Topographic Photography
The Prototype Works (1967-76)
Tract Houses (1971)
The New Industrial Parks (1973-75)
Sites of Technology (1989-91)