Literary Nonfiction. Photography. RIVIERA documents the eerie fragments of existence left behind in one city. John Brian King photographed RIVIERA from 2016 to 2018 in Palm Springs, California, and its surroundings; a full-time resident at the time, he used a cheap instant film camera to give his photographs a unique, washed-out, hazy aesthetic. King depicts a city that is frozen in a visually arresting state of decline, cataloguing the totems of an absurd civilization. "I wanted to photograph the Palm Springs that I lived in and interacted with every single day," King writes, "the beautiful, the mundane, the ugly, the hot desolate nature of Coachella Valley. I wasn't interested in the tourism-board view of Palm Springs, of martinis by the swimming pool and candy-colored, Instagram-ready desert art installations. I was interested in the debris—architectural and natural—left behind by generations of people who lived in or visited Palm Springs to escape, to exist, to die."
"The images do something that many of the best photographs do; they make the familiar look strange and the strange look familiar. Palm Springs looks strange enough to begin with, and King makes it look stranger still. This is not the Palm Springs we know—in fact, it's probably better than that. So much that is quintessentially Palm Springs, all the obvious stuff, remains well outside the frame."—Geoff Nicholson, Los Angeles Review of Books
author siteGeoff Nicholson @ Los Angeles Review of Books
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.