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Ron Jude’s Lago Explores History, Forgetting, And The Vagaries Of Memory

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Name
Project
Lago
Location
Words

In Lago, Ron Jude takes us to the Californian desert, crafting a deliberately evasive autobiographical narrative through images of this sometimes desolate, sometimes beautiful, part of America.

The inhospitable nature of this barren landscape has been captured by generations of photographers—Jude, aware of this, does it differently. Having spent his childhood in Apple Valley at the edge of the Mojave Desert in southern California, his photographs are an abstract investigation into self and history. Between 2011 and 2014, he captured a landscape he had not seen since 1969.

As with our earliest memories, which often return to us in flashes and rarely follow linear chronology, Jude’s photo book lacks a definite narrative structure. Describing his work as being located at the “nexus between place, memory and narrative”, Jude’s ambiguity is intentional. Lago is the piecing together of his own history, a tableau comprised of the anomalies of the desert landscape rather than the specifics.

Unusually, the images are accompanied by sound works rather than text. Lago was released alongside two tracks that combine field recordings, dialog and ambient sounds composed by artist Joshua Bonnetta. When engaged as both reader and listener, one feels the intensity of the midday sun, the reprieve of shadows, and the tepid water of the Salton Sea.

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All images © Ron Jude