LAGO by Ron Jude
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“…I know it happened, and I have enough information about it to reconstruct the whole scene to my own satisfaction, but the person to whom it happened is somewhere so far off that I only know it’s me because I can see his face, and because I’m the one remembering.” - John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van
In Lago, Ron Jude returns to the California desert of his early childhood as if a detective in search of clues to his own identity. In a book of 54 photographs made between 2011 and 2014, he attempts to reconcile the vagaries of memory (and the uncertainty of looking) with our need to make narrative sense of things. Using a desolate desert lake as a theatrical backdrop, Jude meanders through the arid landscape of his youth, making note of everything from venomous spiders to discarded pornography. If one considers these traces to be a coded language of some sort, Jude’s act of photographing and piecing them together becomes a form of cryptography – like a poetic archeology that, rather than attempting to arrive at something conclusive, looks for patterns and rhythms that create congruity out of the stuttering utterances of the visible world. According to Jude, “these harmonies, when we’re lucky enough to find them, are probably the closest we can get to discovering actual ‘meaning’ and grasping the potency of place.”
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