American Suburbs | Cultural Monuments & Rituals

 

Photographer Eli Durst is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  From the project ‘PINNACLE REALTY’ To see Eli’s body of work, click on any image.

 

 

 

 

 

These images come from a series called Pinnacle Realty, a visual examination of the physical and cultural landscape of American suburbs, the environment in which I grew up. While I am now far enough removed from this environment to see its ambiguities, idiosyncrasies, and shortcomings, I still feel a personal connection to it, finding a certain level of comfort in its indistinguishable strip malls and soaring overpasses. Formally, the images mimic the subject matter, using bright, saturated colors and neat, balanced compositions to echo the manicured and highly controlled setting. At the same time, I did not want to reproduce the stereotypical portrayal of the suburbs as an intellectual wasteland. Instead, I sought to weave my own personal narrative into a matrix of suburban iconography, taking mundane objects or everyday actions—like a stack of hamburgers or a woman cleaning out her ears—and studying them as a culture’s monuments and rituals: a hieroglyphic record of seemingly pointless moments. By imbuing these disposable artifacts with an uncommon importance, I hope to portray suburban identities as an amalgamation of signs and symbols, borrowed from both a real past and an imagined one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images and text © Eli Durst

 

 

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By Eli Durst

 

 

 

 

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