Surface Relations Photo Book
In Surface Relations, views of isolated pedestrians, parking lots, suburban lawns, advertisements and sad trees are compiled in an unsentimental catalog of the everyday. The photographs may preserve that which is overlooked, or, if noticed, quickly forgotten—but they do so without suggesting that these moments hold hidden value that makes them worthy of a greater depth of attention.
From a dirty windshield to the graininess of a low-resolution image, the images in Surface Relations are conspicuously mediated. If a figure appears, he or she is alone; if he or she notices the photographer, it is with an intense knowingness. The detached, roving gaze of a driver dulled to the world by the routine of commuting slides over Los Angeles’ automotive landscape and the people who live within it, finding little worth beholding.
Surface Relations is a photographic project originating at the intersection of three of the world’s most revolutionary advances—the automobile, the phone and the camera—that nonetheless consists of images so ordinary that they can be uncomfortable to look at. Shot on smartphones, it owes much to American Surfaces, the 1972-1974 project by Stephen Shore in which he documented his road trip across the U.S. with a point-and-shoot camera—a technology that was convenient and accessible, but that produced photographs considered unworthy of the gallery.
Photographed in Los Angeles between 2012-2016, Surface Relations was designed by Pony Ltd. in London and printed in an edition of 250. Surface Relations is Gookin’s second self-published photobook.