Tom M Johnson – The Lakewood Project

SuburbsAnother interesting critical regionalist photographer is Tom M Johnson, whose suburban images of Lakewood work really well against the writings of D J Waldie (a big favourite of this website).

His blog explains some of his interactions with place and people.  http://lenscratch.blogspot.com/2010/07/tom-m-johnson.html

http://www.fractionmagazine.com/artist/tommjohnson

Johnson writes:-

1: In the late 1940’s and early 50’s WW2 veterans and their families were looking for a new start. Lakewood a new development in the southeast corner of Los Angeles County offered them that beginning. The founders of Lakewood designated their suburb “Tomorrow’s City Today,” because it was both modern and unique in it’s conception Lakewood offered a utopia for the post war middle class: affordable housing new schools and parks, good jobs in the aerospace- defense industry and in the city’s center a new commercial concept, the shopping mall.
I was raised in Lakewood and like any kid from the 60’s I discovered my suburb walking and riding my bike to school to the parks and with friends. Now I revisit those same streets and places to behold what Lakewood has become. Gone are the old friends, the demographics have altered, and most of the original wood framed windows have been replaced however, the similarities to what I can recall are greater than the differences and still on every street mixed with and often hidden amongst the new I manage to find souvenirs of the Lakewood I once knew.

2: from Fraction magazine (as above link)

In return, my portraits do not aim for the cliché or mock those who dwell in suburbia. And even though I may see the world differently than those I photograph, I understand and respect them for how vigorously they strive to maintain their toehold on the American dream. However, my portraits are not benign; not only do they illustrate a sampling of America’s middle-class, they express the hopes and anxiety’s of this shrinking demographic.

http://www.tommjohnson.com/

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