The Los Angeles Spotlights: Max Barsness

By KACY EMMETT
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Ever the scout, Max Barsness’ prolific photographic project, Here To Save You All, does exactly that. Los Angeles is his tortured muse, the starlet who’s been discovered and abandoned so many times before. Here To Save You All is rich in emotionally charged images—from Griffith Observatory to the Kenneth Hahn Recreational Area (we had to look it up, too). You wouldn’t know it judging by Barsness’ intensely moving landscapes, but he’s relatively fresh to the photography scene. He went through a break up and picked up a Canon—the perfect cocktail for an artistic outlet. Since then, he’s been pouring his heart into the city; and in return, LA has proven to be a responsive subject. His work is evocative, sometimes eerie, but never lacking. Despite the wild, deserted nature of his composition, Barsness’ framing is calculated. He doesn’t simply point his camera: he ponders.

Barsness will tell you himself that LA was a city built without much planning, and his photography gravitates toward that same chaos, embracing its haphazard beauty. Lately, he’s taken to encapsulating negative space with color—purple mountains and deep, daunting blue skies—in a practice that reflects his own growth. We’re looking forward to his current project: a panoramic series that highlights empty spaces throughout LA (think manmade things, minus the men). Barsness says it best himself: “True art is showing me where I’m going to or where I’m coming from.” On that note, we’ll meet you there.

Follow his Here To Save LA explorations.

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