Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin: History Based Landscapes
A couple of years ago, I heard Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin speak at PhotoLA. I was drawn to his way of seeing and his perspective on Los Angeles. Our lives paralleled similar terrains of the city and I recognized my growing up in his work. I started following him on Twitter and appreciated his talent for detail and place. At its core, Kwasi’s work examines the rapid pace of gentrification and establishes a “visual record of the transformation”.
I began to focus on how the urban landscape shapes the lives of the people who live in the city – the structures, signage, architecture, and typography of a neighborhood can tell you so much about life there, but they are often overlooked.
His project, New American Landscapes, is collection of cities–New Orleans, Cambridge, Austin, and Los Angeles where Kwasi considers communities on the margins, unremarkable spaces and overlooked details, and finds a unique beauty in the ordinary.
Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin is a Los Angeles based photographer whose work explores the
relationship between the urban landscape and the people who populate it. As a result of a relentless campaign of gentrification and redevelopment, much of the cultural legacy that defines Los Angeles is being erased in the name of progress. Utilizing an approach that blends landscape with documentary street photography, his work creates a portrait of the city that is absent from media representation yet intimately familiar to those who reside here.
He attended the 2018 New York Times Portfolio Review and his work has been featured in KCET Artbound, The New York Times, Curbed Los Angeles and Slate France. He was also one of Time Magazine’s 12 African American Photographers to Follow in 2017.
New American Landscapes
Growing up in Los Angeles, the type of images that are usually associated with landscape photography were just not a part of my world. Despite this, I have always been fascinated by the urban environment. Using my camera to continually record the evolving landscape taught me to notice the small, infinite shifts that cumulatively shape a neighborhood’s foundation.
Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to photograph several major cities outside of California. From New Orleans, Louisiana to Cambridge, Massachusetts and from Austin, Texas back to my native Los Angeles, New American Landscapes is a ground level examination of the American city. My intention is to create an honest portrayal of the spaces I explored and capture some of the authentic beauty that these cities inherently possess.
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