Art. Photography. California Interest. LAX: PHOTOGRAPHS OF LOS ANGELES 1980-84 is comprised of two series of black-and-white images of a metropolis that has now vanished.
In the first series, LAX (62 photos, 35mm black-and-white film), photographer John Brian King engaged in street-style photography in one of the city's most charged places: Los Angeles International Airport. Harried travelers, uniformed employees, and vacationers appear angered by the flash of King's camera, too bored to care, or all-too-confident in this post-industrial setting. King's series would be impossible today, as it exposes the uncomfortable chaos of airport existence before an era of obligatory surveillance.
In the second series, LA (55 photos, 6x7cm black-and-white film), King photographed a city at night devoid of people. The photographs have an evidentiary quality: bizarre debris are framed in the center, isolated by a high-intensity flash. King captured these artifacts—from Sunset Strip nightclub posters to archaic ATMs to beautiful Hollywood Art Deco statues—with a blunt, direct aesthetic.
The black-and-white film negatives of LAX remained in a box for thirty years; they have now reemerged as the unsettling traces of 1980s Los Angeles.
Featured in the Los Angeles Times, L'Œil de la Photographie, Slate, Impose Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more.
"The photos offer a wondrous time capsule of the airport and Los Angeles. (The second part of the book includes work beyond the confines of LAX.) King captured cowboys and dandies, kids and posers, old ladies and airport workers, frazzled-looking couples purportedly on vacation—all in the glare of his flash and wide angle lens."—Los Angeles Times
"The book, LAX: PHOTOGRAPHS OF LOS ANGELES 1980-84, celebrates [King's] flash and run perspective as he creates the perfect descriptor of Los Angeles on the fringes, away from the klieg lights and red carpets, when life was about drinking and driving and celebrating the absurdity of a city that looks better after the sun goes down."—Lenscratch
"The fact that the resulting black and white photographs sat untouched in a box for over 30 years only adds to their otherworldly appeal...Newly uncovered, these shots form a porthole into a long-gone era; the LA of old school Hollywood glamour is invisible here, concealed by the clamour of every day life. And this, King serves to prove, can be even more interesting than the former."—AnOther Magazine
"Even in the days before the stringent anti-terror security measures, airports were a pretty fraught experience. Back in the early '80s, brash young photographer John Brian King threw himself into the potential powder keg that was Los Angeles International Airport with flash blazing—deliberately intrusive and often unwelcome—to see what might combust. Aside from the human drama, King was also drawn to the fabric of the building itself, and the detritus and damage left behind by the transit of so many people."—We Heart
"The parallelism between LAX and LA brings the viewer to two different states of the city, that at the same time is made by the same people who come and go, who are living their everyday life, far from the imaginary we are used to when we think about Los Angeles. Here this everyday life is the main character of a vanished era."—Yet Magazine
John Brian King is a photographer, filmmaker, designer, and writer. His previous photography books include LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles, 1980-84 and RIVIERA: PHOTOGRAPHS OF PALM SPRINGS, both published by Spurl Editions, and Punk Daze. His photography was recently featured in The Los Angeles Times, Hamburger Eyes, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Buzzfeed, and AnOther Magazine.
Author City: SACRAMENTO, CA USA