ZZYZX, is a fantastical and dystopian place. Partly inspired by a recurring dream of a densely populated urban place, Gregory Halpern set out to photograph Southern California with a fresh take.
Chris Killip (a former teacher of Halpern) wrote: “traditional American landscape photography has become a rather moribund photographic trope... In Halpern’s California work, I see him removing himself from the comforts of the past and endeavouring to strike out afresh...”
This wondrous world Halpern has invited us to, has a documentary aesthetic yet the narrative leans towards fiction or even science fiction. The only reference there is to contemporary world is an image of a small screen depicting the Warner Brothers logo. When we think of Los Angeles, one of the first thing that comes to mind is Hollywood, yet in ZZYZX, Halpern walks away from that expectation. Instead, this small image representing this massive industry decreases its power. Perhaps that is why Halpern’s work is so intriguing, stepping away from the popular culture of Hollywood and Los Angeles, we are brought into a vastly different world. One where the beauty is found in the most unexpected places. Where the ugly is next to the beautiful. And one where in each page, we discover a surprise.
Gregory Halpern (b. 1977, New York), is one of this year's Magnum Photo nominees. His most recent work, ZZYZX, was a work in the making for five years, and was then published in 2016, and has won the 2016 Paris Photo-Aperture Photobook of the Year.