Tour New Topographics with Amir Zaki

November 6, 2009
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Last week we introduced an opportunity for everyone to see New Topographics in an entirely new way: via special Sunday afternoon tours given by leading Los Angeles photographers.

This Sunday's tour leader will be Amir Zaki. Born and trained in Southern California, Amir focuses on the region's architectural landscape. Carefully recording—yet deftly using digital technology to transform—subjects such as modernist residences, nocturnal suburbia, and urban density, Amir reconfigures many of his subjects into unfamiliar and confounding images. The desire to challenge assumptions about photographic authenticity also informs his recent survey of elevated lifeguard towers on Orange County beaches. Amir experiments with light and color until, shorn of regular indications of locality or use, these everyday structures become monuments of uncertain function and suggestive new meaning.

I recently spoke to Amir about LACMA's restaging of this important exhibition, which was first seen in 1975 at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. The video here offers a sneak peek into Amir's take on New Topographics, including how his early aversion to the work grew into profound respect and inspiration.

Edward Robinson, Associate Curator, The Wallis Annenberg Photography Department