The Neutron Bomb School of Photography

[Lewis Baltz, South Wall, Mazda Motors, 2121 East Main Street, Irvine, 1974, exhibited in the 1975 show New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape]

‘By 1976 I was joking that this [the New Topographics] was the ‘neutron bomb’ school of photography: killing people but leaving real estate standing. So what I was experimenting with as an alternative was a way of suggesting that social topography was inevitably the site of strife, class war, land-grabs, ethnic-cleansing, race-war, repression and empire. This is especially true in California, where the bones of the first inhabitants crunch underfoot with every step.’

Allan Sekula, ‘Translations and completions’, exhibition notes, California Stories, Christopher Grimes Gallery, California, 2011.

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