FWY is the follow-up book to photographer David Black’s acclaimed and out-of-print 2016 monograph, Cerro Gordo. It is a surrealist portrait of a population stranded in an endless traffic jam.
Black portrays the striated landscape of Los Angeles as an energy vortex; imag-ining the freeways as the central circulatory system through which the city’s energy flows. Joan Didion famously described what happens to participants of the city’s freeways, “The mind goes clean. The rhythm takes over. A distortion of time occurs, the same distortion that characterizes the instant before an accident.” The drivers and passengers in Black’s photographs stand hypnotically on bright steel hoods and in rivers of asphalt. Reyner Banham wrote in Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, “The freeways become a special way of being alive … the extreme concentration required in Los Angeles seems to bring on a state of heightened awareness that some locals find mystical.”
In FWY, Black expands his investigation of Los Angeles’ complex existence between light and dark and its role in our modern mythology. Stylistically, Black pays homage to Los Angeles urban theorists, disaster genre films of the 1980s, and the daily secular communion all Angelenos share.
my car’s an absolute necessity in this city of cars where
you come to know people best by how they maneuver on the freeway
make lane changes or handle off-ramps.
— Wanda Coleman
FWY will be released in limited and trade-editions in the Fall of 2018 on Hat & Beard Press. The trade edition is available for pre-order now.