Mark Steinmetz: a retrospective

A retrospective on the work of the Georgia-based photographer behind Fifteen Miles to K-Ville and Angel City West.

[hygge_spacing height=”40″]

Mark Steinmetz’s book Fifteen Miles to K-Ville is a collection of photographs dating from the mid-1990s, that were taken on road trips throughout the American South: Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Chattanooga, and Athens, Georgia. Spray-painted rumors of romance punctuate a world comprised largely of teenagers and young couples.

Steinmetz introduces the viewer to this smoky suburban world. The atmosphere the photographer creates with the images could be compared to independent-movie scenes, with their specific code and language.

[hygge_spacing height=”20″]

[hygge_spacing height=”20″]

“ I entered the Yale School of Art straight from college and left after my first semester. I was 21. I was restless, curious about the America that lay beyond New England, and had a strong interest in the movie industry; I also had heard that Garry Winogrand was somewhere in Los Angeles so in the summer of 1983 I headed west.”

– Mark Steinmetz, from the Preface of Angel City West

[hygge_spacing height=”50″]

[hygge_spacing height=”50″]

[hygge_spacing height=”50″]

I love the South for its warmth and chaos. The vegetation down here grows rampant; the light is softened by humid air. The people are for the most part friendly and they are comfortable in their bodies. They tend to be more open to being photographed by a stranger. The unexpected happens here a lot. 

[hygge_spacing height=”50″]

[hygge_spacing height=”50″]

Angel City West offers a touching, highly personal look at Los Angeles through the eyes of Mark Steinmetz as a young artist straight out of school. In his preface to the work, Steinmetz describes living in a studio apartment in the Miracle Mile district, complete with a futon surrounded by a dozen roach motels and a makeshift darkroom set up in a tiny nook off of the bathroom. It didn’t take long before he ran into Garry Winogrand, for whom he became a kind of unofficial chauffeur, enabling Winogrand to photograph through the car window while Steinmetz navigated the streets of his new hometown.

[hygge_spacing height=”50″]

@marksteinmetz