Osceola Refetoff - Its a mess without you
Exhibition from July 1st to September 26, 2020
“As a photographer and photojournalist, my primary interest is in documenting the intersection of nature and human development, and the narratives of the people living at those crossroads. Much of my focus is on the remnants and future of human activity across the deserts of the American West. In this portfolio, “It’s a Mess Without You ”, I explore the real tragedy of abandoned dreams, loss, absence, and obsolescence, juxtaposed against the stoically majestic terrain of the region. In all my work, I strive to speak to the scale of the individual viewer and provide a human perspective on the places portrayed.
Here, the window operates not only as a literal/architectural subject, but also an optical/aesthetic and narrative/ symbolic device to frame the story of these desert landscapes and document the derelict structures that are tenuous monuments to our ongoing interaction with arid lands. The photographs were initially featured on High & Dry, my long-term, writer-photographer collaboration with author and film historian Christopher Langley, a regular feature on KCET’s multi-platform program “Artbound” (PBS/ Public Broadcasting Service Southern California), amongst other venues. » This December 2019, Refetoff received the Los Angeles Press Club National Photojournalist of the Year award for work on this ongoing project. NOTE: all photographs are single exposures (and not Photoshop composites).
This work was selected as a winning series for OpenWalls Arles 2020, a collaboration between the British Journal of Photography, 1854 Media and Galerie Huit Arles.
About the Artist
Osceola Refetoff is a Montreal-born, Los Angeles-based photographer. His motion picture background informs his approach to constructing visual narratives, documenting humanity’s impact on the world – both the intersection of nature and industry, and the narratives of people living at those crossroads. In the process he plumbs his own psychological depths to discover what makes him love work and life. He has traveled through—and photographed—the desert for many years, especially when driving Route 365 across the Mojave on camping and hiking trips.During the eight months of medically imposed immobility after a mountain biking accident in 2007, he studied various digital programs (the digital darkroom) which nurtured “Refetoff ’s rich oeuvre of desert images, an oeuvre marked by startlingly new views of a region that has been photographed repeatedly for over a century.”