[R]obert Lang is a photographer we love. Blending the spirit of an all-American road trip with the ability to cross paths with geeks and freaks, drag queens and pop queens, these photographs, from a zine called Girls Girls Girls capture iconic personalities in iconic locations. With the seediness of motels and the spontaneity of life on the road filling in the gaps.
Following on from his series Filthy Gorgeous Camden Town, in which he alternately captured the vomit and the euphoria of nights out in north London, Robert is hardly surprised by anything anymore.
Why did you choose NYC, LA, MIAMI, PS and VEGAS ? What is it in these cities that you wanted to see?
I have lived in Los Angeles for over 4 years now and traveled to NYC for work over the years. You go to Vegas to lose your money and holiday in Palm Springs to regain your sanity. Road tripping in America is really dreamy for its incredible landscapes.I traveled to Sedona and Monument Valley this summer and was awestruck by the immense beauty of nature.
What was different about shooting in the US cities, compared to say your previous work focusing on Camden?
The Camden series ‘Filthy Gorgeous Camden Town’ really focused on the character of people and was more about taking photos in a moment while in America you have the landscapes and architecture competing for attention as well. Each city is recognizable and unique in its atmosphere and design which makes it a standout feature in the photos.
What was the strangest thing you saw happen in Los Angeles?
Nothing really shocks me anymore in Los Angeles. It’s normal now to see a person walking around with a birdcage on their head and a pigeon inside or Hollywood Jesus ‘Kevin’ watering his lawn dressed down in his day clothes wearing glasses and a pony tail. Your considered strange if you walk around instead of driving but that’s when you meet the best people. A homeless man on the Sunset Strip told me he was sent by god to protect LA from the earthquakes yet he still had time to promote a strip club down the road by giving me a free entrance card. I’d say the most surreal thing I have done is spending the day driving around Hollywood crystal shopping with Angelyne in her pink corvette.
What other photographers do you think have captured America and American culture in a very interesting way?
I have always respected the street photographer who inject them self into society and continue daily to document taking photos. American photographers like Mary Ellen Mark, Helen Levitt and Nan Goldin for capturing people in their community’s and Ed Templeton for his skate boarding and youth culture documentation and Leroy Grannis for his Surfing photos in California.I grew up in Durban, South Africa so am a beach bum and have always appreciated growing up around surf and skate culture. I loved Ivar Wigan’s series ‘The Gods’ of his documentation of the American strip club culture and Bruce Gilden’s ‘Faces’ project of candid close-up photos of people In the streets.