Spurred by the housing crisis, Kristin Giordano presents us with a series of suburban photographs, all taken on a toy camera adding the effect of nostalgia plus a dreamlike quality reinforcing the ideals of the suburban landscape and the American Dream.
Kristin Giordano / Radiance
Woolworth Window #3, 11th & Broadway
May 15 2014 – August 21 2014
Giordano’s series of soft-focus photographs capture a suburban landscape whose neutral surface is pathologically clean, unscratched, and may, she seems to suggest, conceal strange dramas along placid streets.
“I began this series one afternoon when I was driving on River Road and saw the sunlight glowing on a row of houses across the Puyallup River,” she says in an artist’s statement. “I drove over to investigate, and walked the strange, dreamlike streets of the Radiance housing development, photographing the streets and the repetition and the way the sunlight illuminated the houses.”
Giordano, a fine art photographer, used an inexpensive, plastic-lens Diana camera that imparts a blurred softness to images. “The camera gives the images a nostalgic feel [that plays] with our sense of time, as though we are looking at an imagined past, or the past from an imagined future. There is at once a utopian and dystopian feeling to the photographs – sunny images of dream homes under dark and ominous skies.”
The iconic suburban landscape and its sense of otherness has been the subject of photographers and writers for decades. “The inspiration for this series was my investigation of the American dream in the wake of the collapse of the housing market and economic recession we’ve experienced in recent years,” says Giordano. “The place strikes me as something of a stage-set, with the facades of the houses impeccably landscaped, American flags waving on the porches….Emotionally, I experience a push-pull effect, at once drawn in and repelled by the falseness of the landscape, the precariousness of the illusion of order, and the shared dream of the white picket fence.”
Giordano’s previous work includes portraits of deteriorating palaces in Qatar, and dream-like images of debris washed ashore on the Washington coast from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. With “Radiance” she isolates another unique moment in time and place.
Kristin Giordano’s “Radiance” at the Woolworth Windows, 11th & Broadway, through August 21, 2014. ~Lisa Kinoshita