Photographer Anthony Hernandez discusses his latest book Forever with his wife, the writer, Judith Freeman.
Forever comprises photographs taken in the downtown area of Los Angeles and the poorer neighbourhoods of Compton, Watts and South Central, made between 2007–2012. The work traces the movements of the homeless, in images which take up the point of view of the homeless person. So, rather than photographing the material trace – a chair or bed – Hernandez photographs what might be might seen and observed from the street itself.
The title was drawn from a previous work Landscapes for the Homeless (1996), exhibited at the Sprengel Museum in Hanover. The catalogue included a conversation between Hernandez and Lewis Baltz titled Forever Homeless: A Dialogue. It was Baltz who chose the title, and Hernandez speaks of its prevailing significance, “The title is very important because, as I write this, fifteen years on, the homeless population of Los Angeles has only increased; I could technically keep photographing this subject, making these kinds of pictures, forever.”
Anthony Hernandez, a self-taught artist, was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947. He has been exhibiting his work since 1971, when his photographs were included in a three-person exhibition, “The Crowded Vacancy,” with Lewis Baltz and Terry Wilde, at the Pasadena Art Museum. A catalogue accompanied this inaugural show.
His books include “Landscapes for the Homeless” (Sprengel Museum, Hanover 1995), “Sons of Adam: Landscapes for the Homeless II” (Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, and Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, 1997), “Pictures for Rome” (Smart Art Press 2000), “Waiting for Los Angeles” (Nazraeli Press 2002), “Everything” (Nazraeli Press 2005), “Waiting, Sitting, Fishing and Some Automobiles” (Loosestrife Editions, 2007), “Anthony Hernandez,” Vancouver Art Gallery, text by Jeff Wall, 2009), “Rodeo Drive” (Mack Books 2014), “LA 1971” (Silas Finch Press, 2014), “Beach Pictures 1960/70,” (Silas Finch Press, pub date Sept 2016), and “Forever” (Mack Books 2017, text by Judith Freeman) .
Hernandez won a Higashikawa Prize in 1996, and a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome in 1998. He has also received a United States Artist Award (2010), and three National Endowment for the Arts Awards (1975, 1978, 1980).
In 2009 a survey of his work was shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery. His photographs have been included in numerous solo and group shows, in both the U.S. and Europe, including “Under The Big Black Sun” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2011), and “Crossing the Frontier,” (the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1996). His work is in the permanent collections of museums in the United States and Europe, including the Chicago Art Institute, the Los Angeles County Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Sprengel Museum, the San Francisco Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Brandhorst Museum.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art mounted a retrospective of his work in September 2016, an exhibition that will travel to the Milwaukee Museum in September, and other venues in Europe. A major publication, covering forty-five years of his work, accompanies the exhibition, with texts by Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, and Ralph Rugoff.