Greetings from LA : 24 Frames, 50 Years by George Porcari

Greetings includes 24 large-scale collage works. Each collage, titled by the location and year, is comprised of a photographic image of Los Angeles organized around a blank space or “void” with similar scale and resonated by a graphic “footnote” at the bottom. These images are taken in Los Angeles between the years 1964 and 2015; they are not digitally manipulated except for the bottom “footnote” which has been radically compressed to virtual non-existence. Robert Frank once said, “I leave it up to you. They don’t have an end or a beginning. They are a piece of the middle.” Like Frank’s The Americans, Porcari’s Greetings is a collection of personal meditations on the world around us while exposing the emotional rhythms of Los Angeles in the middle. Although there is not a strong emotional tension or separation between the photographer and the photographed, like much street photography where privacy is often invaded or confronted, George Porcari’s photography, analogous to the works of Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Arthur Fellig aka “Weegee,” is shot on the streets and is documentary in style. It is visually free, edgy and spontaneous and yet it is ordinary and nugatory by appearance and highly personal. If Greetings were a film, it would precisely be a one second time-lapse during Porcari’s fiftyyear-long “road trip” in Los Angeles; descriptions of ordinary details, uncertain plots and flights of fancy sent to us (those who are not there) in the form of postcards. Greetings shows us a different Los Angeles from the wholesome, commercialized, glamour-filled images that have been popularized and politicized by the mass media. The Los Angeles many of us have come to call home is depicted in Porcari’s collages as 24 theatrically compact vignettes; you may not recognize the street intersection by name, but you feel a vague familiarity to this Los Angeles. Photographed through portals commonly found in our urban vernaculars, like windshields, window panes, phone booths or the mirror-finished façade of corporate architecture, these fragmented sceneries or reflections of Los Angeles are incidental, forming their own histories and ecologies of a city with its disjointed suburbs loosely connected in a labyrinth of freeway. Raw realities and insignificant encounters of our everyday are transformed into marks, signs, unrecognizable symbols, or pieces from a jigsaw puzzle; and details from the past, like dated fashion items, vehicle models, corporate slogans, and messages from advertising are collaged into new context and coded with disappearance, causing a certain kind of nostalgia without being melancholy. These “collections” of found cinematic moments in Los Angeles are evanescent in nature and fall short of being sentimental or surrogates for any hidden narrative or social commentary.

Our role in this project included curation, exhibition design and fabrication, installation and event production. Executed for Haphazard.