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Empty L.A. | Matt Logue

April 7, 2010

After studying design at San Jose State and film and animation at San Francisco State University, Matt Logue entered the film effects industry at Tippett Studio in Berkeley in 1997. Since then he has  been to New Zealand as an animator on the Lord of the Rings films and am currently an animation supervisor at Rhythm & Hues in Los Angeles. Now, his last work is Empty L.A., a four-year project which depicts an uninhabited Los Angeles.

Looking at these images it’s easy to believe that Logue performed some kind of magic to capture the city during that elusive car-less moment. But the interesting thing is, that in L.A. there’s no such thing. All these pictures are digitally crafted, but the work is so well done, that they seem completely real!

Christopher Hawthorne comments at his L.A. Times column:

“This movement in the direction of emptiness is profoundly difficult for contemporary culture — and particularly American culture — to grapple with. Occasional recessions and other setbacks aside, we assume that our national trajectory always moves toward fullness, that our cultural progress can be measured by how much new square footage we’ve created and occupied.”

And Alysia Gray Painter adds:

“Probably, on some days, in a heated huff, you wish the 405 were completely void of cars.

But the bustle and jostle of Los Angeles help make it Los Angeles; our identity is tied up in our people, and our connections, and yes, our ever-present cars. Photographer Matt Logue has considered that, and in his new book he boils the city down to just the city, the physical city, our concrete bones and stretching freeways and all those buildings.”

The book won an honorable mention in the Photography.Book.Now competition at blurb. Taking a look to all those empty streets is an interesting way to realize the impact we’ve had on Earth and how it would look if we haven’t transform our cities the way we have been done since the Industrial Revolution until now.

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First notice about the Empty L.A. book via @DesignUnderSky. More info at EMPTY L.A. web-site. If you like L.A. and it’s infrastructures, you also may be interested in follow the book-club created by Rob and Stephen from mammoth about Reading The Infrastructural City [book edited by Kazys Varnelis]


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