Jake Longstreth – Tulare


The Ice Plant 2018

From 2008 to 2012, often in the dead of summer, American painter Jake Longstreth (born 1977) photographed the dusty, utilitarian Central Valley of California, a severe inland topography formerly occupied by the massive Tulare Lake. With a tonal restraint echoing the style of his own flatly realistic paintings, Longstreth’s photographs capture the hazy, blinding sunlight and muted palette of this region, a topography that has been transformed from a lush, wild terrain—celebrated by John Muir in 1868 as “one smooth, continuous bed of honey-bloom”—into the monotonously fertile industrial farmland it is today. “Millions of people pass over the dry lake-bed in their cars every year, unaware of its previous existence,” Longstreth notes with ambivalent fascination. “A Taco Bell now stands roughly where the shores of Tulare Lake once were.”

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