Los Angeles is an extraordinary place. However you decide to define it -- and definitions of LA usually center around clichés -- it is almost impossible to set out and find that definition. It's an enormous place, and a very disconnected one, in part because the definitions never seem to coincide with reality. Hollywood, for example. It exists as a myth, as an industry, as a state of mind... It also exists as a place, and the reality of that place has never had much of anything to do with the myth, the industry and everything else that we associate with Hollywood.
Zen in application to urban structure: in the city, everything is put there for some purpose. Human actions result from intentions, desires, and attempts to bring about certain situations or prevent other situations from happening. Nature, on the other hand, is unintentional. It doesn't try to accomplish anything. What nature produces is without purpose, intention or will.
There is a crazy human arrogance that says we can impose our will on nature. We can't. There's another crazy human arrogance that says we can impose our will on each other. We can't. As a manmade city, Los Angeles is full of evidence all of this: the clash of competing wills, intentions and desires, often in purposeful contradiction to one another. The bigger the city, the greater the imposition of corporate, chambers-of-commerce intention, the greater the counterpoint of individual wills asserting themselves in opposition. The greater the attempts, the greater the failure. And that's what makes Los Angeles such an epic place.
To the extent that Los Angeles is a city that bears the imprint of its inhabitants, a definition becomes that much harder to pin down. We have here without question the world's largest assemblage of people who are just passing through.
It seems that nobody comes to Los Angeles to live. Instead, they come here to accomplish something, as often as not something tied up with showbiz, with dreams and fantasies. They hope to become or create (the difference between the two is hopelessly blurred) monuments of ephemera. They are disconnected from the very emphatic here and now of Los Angeles.
One theme is thus the clash between individuals and/or groups with each other and/or reality.
A second theme is transience.
The third theme is organizational and involves my growing fascination with the radius. Any structure I impose on this thing is going to be entirely arbitrary, but after choosing a defined center (my apartment) the radius offers the most apparently random (and thus natural and unintentional) groupings. It's also truest to the idea of transience since I can embark on the document while just passing through going about my day-to-day affairs.
The series begins with a set comprised of whatever photos just happen to be my favorites at any given time, and then can be viewed in larger groupings by radius: 0 - 1 miles, 1 - 5 miles, 5 - 50 miles, and all.