In The City with Lori Nix
About the series:
I have been building dioramas and photographing the results since the early 1990s. As I’ve working through various bodies of work, from Accidentally Kansas, Lost and now The City, my fabrication skills have improved and my subject matter has become more complex. With The City series I have moved indoors, creating architectural interiors. This has proven most difficult yet most rewarding. Currently it takes about seven months to build a scene and two to three weeks to shoot the final image. I build these in my Brooklyn living room. I have miniature power tools throughout the apartment, a chop saw under the kitchen table, a miniature table saw on top. The computer room doubles as a model mock-up room. There are two of us who work on them, myself and my partner Kathleen. We split the work according to our strengths. I come up with the concept, the color palette and the lighting scenarios. I build the structures out of extruded foam and glue and paint and anything else handy. Kathleen is trained as a glass artist, specializing in cast glass work. She can paint faux finishes and gild architectural details with gold leaf. After I’m done building the structure and painting it, she comes in and adds dirt and distresses the walls to make it look old and decrepit.
I am fascinated, maybe even a little obsessed, with the idea of the apocalypse. In addition to my childhood experiences with natural disasters, I also grew up watching 1970s films known as “disaster flicks”. I remember watching Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Planet of Apes and sitting in awe in the dark. Here was the same type of dangers I had experienced day to day being magnified and played out on the big screen in a typical Hollywood way. Each of these experiences has greatly influenced my photographic work. The series Accidentally Kansas explored my personal experience with the natural disasters of my childhood. The City postulates what it would be like to live in a city that is post man-kind, where man has left his mark by the architecture, but mother nature is taking back these spaces. Flora, fauna and insects mix with the detris of high and low culture.