We first encountered the remarkable work of photographer (and painter) Lorena Lohr last year, when she released the third self-published photographic book of her travels throughout the United States named ‘Western Nights’. Before that she had already released ‘Palm Desert’, published in 2011 and ‘Desert Sands’ a year later. This month, Lohr returns with another inspirational chapter of her on-going personal love affair between traveling and photography. It is clear that the photographer can’t get enough of her journeys by Greyhound bus, train and on foot, taking herself throughout the Southwest, the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. We on the other hand continue to be intrigued by the isolated imagery it inspires her to take, ranging from deserted diner kitchen, unkept garden, empty pools and neon signs. Although the images clearly evoke some sense of sadness and the feeling of former glory, mostly excluding humans in the frames, the color palette reminds of the seventies and is inherently attractive, making the images bittersweet in the truest sense of the word.
Lorena in a conversation with sleek on what attracts her in the American South West:
I enjoy seeing repeated motifs especially when travelling through areas of the USA and looking at palm trees and cocktail signs. These motifs connect to empty space and there’s a sense of exoticism and dreaminess despite how much emptiness there is around too. Maybe not table legs so much but I do think lone chairs and certain kinds of drinks. I guess it’s because I think about being alone in the night a lot, and I’ve spent a lot of time riding the bus and walking around, waiting for the bus on layovers and getting to know people and hearing their extreme stories. The night is when all these wild things are most present.
Next to her mentioned travels and accompanying publications, Lohr stays very busy working on commissions – she was one of the first collaborators of the inspirational Mr. Hare – and the photographer has been creating a bi-monthly photo zine named ‘Ocean Views’ since 2013, which she started sending out to subscribers from her place in Brooklyn. The zine forms an intimate yet simple collection of fleeting moments, a slender scrapbook of places.
It was a good way of making myself explore my work on a smaller scale and being motivated to put out more. I would pick a part of a borough, like a residential area of Queens or parts of New Jersey that I could easily get to and go around photographing interiors and street views. It is difficult to edit and turn it out fast, sometimes I don’t like a certain image after I put it out but I see the value in learning from my mistakes.
After five years of traveling the American South West with her camera, Lorena will now take the on-going project to England where she will focus on the seaside towns. We can’t wait for that next chapter!
To order ‘Desert Moon’ see here
For more work by the talented Lorena Lohr see here