MICHAEL RAINES (Los Angeles, USA)
Working as a verite digital cinematographer and music video director, Michael Raines picked up a still camera to keep busy between projects and hone some analog skills. When his daughter was born, they would walk around the city together taking pictures of their neighborhood and develop them at home during nap time. People in LA rarely noticed her, or the camera, making it the perfect place to stay invisible on the streets.
His music videos have premiered on Pitchfork, NOWNESS, NPR and BULLETT Magazine. As a documentary cinematography, his latest projects include the film Ovarian Psycos and the upcoming Artist/Mother in the ARTBOUND series.
Between the sun, asphalt and the slow pace of moving around this enormous city, Los Angeles can beat you down. “BEAT” explores the relationship between the imposing architecture and tired bodies weighed down by the day-to-day. These photos were shot on an expansive stretch of Route 66, where buses are late, traffic stands still, and shade from a building only gives a bit of relief. The color is vivid and hyperreal – like technicolor films of the past – it’s the dream of Los Angeles curbed by the reality of just getting by in this city.
Practice Statement: How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Film is unparalleled in how it captures the harshness of light – especially the hot LA afternoon light. Color film, pushed to a higher level of saturation, reads like an old melodrama. The color and texture just reminds me of LA. An LA that is both real and imagined. I wanted that bold, nostalgic look to stylize and heighten my direct approach to street photography, and film was the only way I could achieve that look in an honest and clear way. For me, film was initially a way to hone my skills as a cinematographer, but it also forced me to shoot with a point of view and a more intentional approach. Eventually, I could see a narrative in the format.