For nearly a decade, the British-Canadian photographer Lorena Lohr has been travelling the American Southwest by bus and train, documenting the fleeting landscapes and the distinct character of the region’s built environment. Taking in everything from motels and bars to parking lots and patches of waste ground, her photographs capture unexpected and often uncanny aspects of the commonplace and mundane in the places she visits. Without ironic detachment or comment, Lohr identifies beauty and individuality in overlooked or neglected spaces that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Though she does not limit herself to any particular subject, Lohr’s wider body of work is characterised by recurring motifs: electrical wiring, colourful drinks and details of the bodywork of automobiles are just some of the hallmarks that stretch across her series and artist’s books. Language, as glimpsed in commercial signage, is another leitmotif of her photographs: generic phrases that evoke an exoticism at odds with their surroundings feature heavily, both contributing the visual richness of her compositions and hinting at hope, longing and isolation.
Working with 35mm colour film and a variety of compact and inexpensive cameras, Lohr stays true to the DIY spirit that characterises much of what she chooses to photograph. To these ends, she has created a number of limited edition artist’s books, the most recent of which is Texas Blue (2018). Lohr’s work does not expressly seek to romanticise or glamourise, yet celebrates the idiosyncratic traces of people’s involvement on a given area, documenting the incidental layers of narrative that build up over time in the places she visits.