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A Place In The Sun: Picturing California

California dreaming in a group show featuring Los Angeles photographers

by Wendy Dembo in Culture on 22 April 2011

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The American Dream is familiar enough territory, but what of the allure of the West? The group show "A Place in the Sun: Picturing California" highlights Los Angeles photographers, some native and others transplants, who explore the Caliifornia dream.

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Images cast a collective portrait of the Golden State as a place where promises are alternately fulfilled, deferred and denied—a vision that's not too far off from the reality of the U.S. What defines the work of these talents (among them Sam Comen, Emily Shur, Alex Tehrani, Katrina Dickson, J. Wesley Brown and Chad Ress) ;is a shared distinct sensibility. Their approach lies in the beauty and awkwardness of trying to feel at home in a vast region founded on prosperity— not to mention the photographers' commercial gigs.

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"Here in L.A., at the locus of the entertainment industry, crisp lighting and saturated colors elevate celebrities to icons," Comen explains. "It's in this context that I apply those same photographic motifs to everyday people in the environments that define them, holding them up, casting them as lead characters."

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Comen shares a fascination many artists feel about their personal stomping grounds. "Though I love making work afar in the field, I'm endlessly interested in my hometown of L.A., and feel like this city holds a lifetime of stories for me to tell through pictures."

The show opens today and runs through 6 May 2011 at Hi-Lite Studio and Project Space.

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