Middle Distance or The Anxiety of Influence: Photographs from Los Angeles by Isaac Diggs, 2019
I photograph in and around cities. I walk and drive through them with multiple still cameras making pictures as I go. This movement back and forth, often covering the same terrain or region again and again, creates a rhythm of its own which becomes a platform for visual discovery. And the multiplicity of camera formats encourages me to engage different motifs - (urban) landscapes, portraits, found still lives, architectural exteriors and interiors - that reflect my layered experience of dense and/or expansive city environments.
Not just any city will do. I am most attracted to port cities that are frayed around the edges, and where the movement of people and goods rarely stops; and cities where the cultural landscape refracts our anxieties around race, sex or class; and communities where deep cultural roots are threatened by gentrification and development. Often they are the same place. I have traced some of these themes in my project, Middle Distance or The Anxiety of Influence: Photographs from Los Angeles, to conjure the underlying tension I sense in much of the American urban landscape.
Isaac Diggs is a photographer and educator. For over two decades he has photographed the urban fabric of cities and communities in the United States and abroad. His work has been exhibited in the United States and Japan, and is part of private and public collections like the New York Public Library and the Walker Art Center, among others. He has received support from the Asian Cultural Council, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Puffin Foundation. A native of Cleveland, OH, Diggs received his B.A. in English Literature at Columbia University and his M.F.A. in photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts since 2000. His book, 125th: Time in Harlem, done in collaboration with Edward Hillel, was published in 2014.
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