Clockwise from upper left: Larry Sultan, “My Mother Posing for Me,” (1984) Henry Wessel, “Southern California,” (1985) William A. Garnett, “Contour Graded Hills, Ventura County, California” (1953) and Ansel Adams, “Clouds, from Tunnel Overlook, Yosemite National Park, California” (1934)
Children growing up everywhere, in the middle of nowhere, middle America or in the backwoods of the Northeast all have specific visions of California. Of all the states in the country, why California? Why do people I meet today tell me how when they were children all they wanted to do was go to California? One reason: photography. Whether their impressions are of the Ansel Adams variety or the vastly more popular surfer/life guard/beach bum/eternal party culture California, they can all be traced back to specific images from photography both low (think neon bikini postcards) and high.