My family arrived in L.A. via train at Union Station from Brooklyn and settled in a very different Hollywood than the city that exists today. The area was relatively affordable and had a large, working class, predominantly immigrant population. It was almost nothing like the city outsiders imagined it was and that was a good thing. The impact of the massive redevelopment effort currently underway in Hollywood on the area is enormous. Older, affordable apartment buildings are being torn down and being replaced with luxury apartments that are unattainable to most who currently live in the neighborhood. Families that have lived in the area for generations are being priced out and many who remain struggle to cope with constant rent increases. An additional side effect is the exponential increase in the local homeless population coupled with a decrease in support services. The social fabric of the community I remember has all but disappeared as a result and this metamorphasis is clearly reflected in the shifting topography.
True Topographics is a long term, documentary landscape project focusing on the parts of Hollywood, California that I grew up in. The title is a play on the New Topographics movement but the project differs greatly in both intent and purpose. My intention is to depict Hollywood’s rapid physical transformation from the perspective of someone with a connection to the landscape that’s being replaced.