Land Line, offers up a rumination on the internal displacement produced by the effort of memory, and by the bland neutrality of corporate architectural spaces. In a series of acute and simultaneously neutral portraits, the work addresses the obsessiveness of hobbyists whose passions transform them – if only momentarily – into alternately expressive and vacant versions of their ordinary selves. These images are combined with photographs from conferences and prisoner transports, which connect together to point up the pervasiveness of anonymity in our ordered public spaces. … If architecture can be understood as a mechanism for organizing human behavior, and if the city (after Robert Park) can be understood as man’s “most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire,” then these photographs question the scope of individual and collective experience achievable in the midst of insistent homogeneity.”

Land Line started as a project about Memory Championships and professional mnemonists, but I began adding other stories to the project in part because they felt the same. That feeling being partly derived from a similarity in the environments in which I was shooting – mainly, neutral beige conference hall interiors. It’s hard to say whether or not these environments are transfiguring people – but there’s something about the blatant neutrality of these spaces that both makes sense for the conference hall developer/architect/owner (maybe to maximize the type of event that can be held in these rooms), and then conversely feels like an incredibly rich space for a photographer like me that just wants to photograph people in a simple, minimal environment. Maybe I’m the one that was transfigured by these environments, caught up in all this looking, staring,watching people like we’re all the on the set of a play."

Michael Schmelling, in A Conversation about Land Line, just published at

@6 months ago with 50 notes
#Photography #Michael Schmelling #Interview #The Great Leap Sideways #J&L Books 
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