Mark Ruwedel: Seventy-Two and One Half Miles Across Los Angeles
For this project, Mark Ruwedel traveled across Los Angeles between 2011-2014, following in the footsteps of friend and author Nigel Raab. His carefully planned route spanning 72.5 miles began at his house in Westchester and ended at the Metro station in San Bernardino; a route chosen to cross as many geographic, economic, political, and cultural boundaries as possible. The views and sights we see here reflect several legacies: from Raab’s own journey to that of LA photographer Ed Ruscha, whose photobooks provided inspiration throughout the course of the project.
(Mark Ruwedel discusses his project at Gallery Luisotti in Santa Monica, CA)
About the Author
Ruwedel (b.Bethlehem, PA 1954) is an artist who has been photographing American deserts and other remote locations for over 25 years, pursuing epic-scaled projects on railroad construction, Pre-Columbian sites, the landscapes of nuclear weapons, and more recently, failed attempts to live in the harsh environment of the desert.
With an affinity for stark, barren landscapes that are otherwise uninhabited, Ruwedel found solace in the desert as it soon became his primary field of inquiry to explore subtle perceptions about the historical versus contemporary in landscape photography.
Influenced by photographers Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams, Ruwedel’s works do not only overlap the ideas of the landscape and histories the place represents, but also the histories of picture-making. He uses land as a suitable place for social inquisition by studying each intricate history of the American or Canadian West and producing mesmerizing black-and-white photographs of the grades, cuts, tunnels, trestles, and craters of his immediate surroundings to reveal narratives—both geological and human—contained within. The images are wrought with history as the land reveals itself as being both an agent of geological processes and a field of human endeavor.