I first saw Matt Logue’s photographs in an email from Very Short List, (if you aren’t signed up to that service, you should). There isn’t a whole lot that can be done with photography anymore, now that digital imagery has taken hold of the process. I recently went back to a 35mm film camera after years working with digital. There’s sharpness with film that is somehow missing from digital, it’s hard to explain, and I’m not trying to be a snob here, just a realist.
Empty LA is a throw back to Ansel Adams. Like that master, Logue is venturing into unknown territory, the empty streets of Los Angeles. It sounds odd to discover a photographer that finds something new to see and say on the streets of earthquake city, where the sun never stops shinning, and it always feels like Friday afternoon. Logue’s images are large and sprawling, even though I’ve only see a digital book, through a link on his site. There aren’t any people in these pictures, or cars, in a city that is know for its horizontal mobility, it’s shocking to see the place as just landscape and buildings.
Mr. Logue works in the film business and his images of downtown and the cityscape remind me of Michael Mann. I’m convinced Logue has taken pictures from the locations of my favorite movie, Heat. There’s a chrome slickness to these places, a polished glaze, garbage free, and it seems like a town that has forgotten about pollution. Logue’s hottest pictures are of the city, and the long empty stretches of highway that we only know to be filled with long stretches of cars. But I think the real gems here are the long shot from the cover, of Los Angeles from above, tinted in blue, and the other smaller shots that pepper the collection.
He must have stopped on his way out of the office one day to photograph a lonely telephone sitting on a dark conference room table, surrounded by leather chairs. Light from near by window leaks in and throws the rest of the human free landscape into deep shadows, pictures of Hollywood, without its players.
I’ve seen the Los Angeles that is shown in movies, Beverly Hills, the palm trees and beaches, Logue only shows one beach here, and you’ll never forget it. These pictures remind me of the Parralax View, I know that movie was shot outside L.A., (and has people in it, this is more like a feeling, or a vibe) but it has that thumping pulsing tone, I expect to see Warren Beatty turn the corner at the edge of one of these pictures. Logue makes my mind wander, and creates inspiration in the viewer with these images. Not biblical inspiration, but he makes you want to go out and take pictures after you look at his work, which is the best compliment a photographer can get.
Check out this book, and buy it here.