Lise Sarfati: New York Times

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On Hollywood


Published: March 24, 2012

I began with the concept of psychogeographical dérive, an approach analyzed by the French writer Guy Debord.

He defined psychogeography as the study of the precise effects of geographical surroundings on the emotions and behavior of individuals.

This dérive is the process I used to experience brief stays in a variety of atmospheres. In Los Angeles I drifted through Hollywood, staying several months. I did not scout locations like a director of photography or an artist hungry for new surroundings. I strove to find places where I would feel good physically, places that would affect me emotionally.

These places were street corners, sidewalk strips, recesses. Nothing extraordinary; on the contrary, very often quite banal.

My series “On Hollywood” shows women who really live in Los Angeles. They probably came to project themselves in the Hollywood landscape and to take advantage of the possibilities of success in this landscape. Hollywood interested me more for the concept of landscape as fantasy.

They are very real, and in different ways they seem to be the targets of a strange fatality. They shine in a very peculiar way. Like Pier Paolo Pasolini’s fireflies.

Lise Sarfati is a French-born photographer who lives in the United States. Her upcoming exhibitions “On Hollywood” and “She” will be at the Rose Gallery in Los Angeles.

To see a slideshow of more images from SHE series please visit the New York Times website