Following the acclaimed retrospective of the artist at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition features a selection from his remarkably varied body of work spanning over 45 years and ranging from series in black and white that originated in the 1970s and -80s to recent large-scale color photographs.
The social landscape in an urban environment is the focus of Anthony Hernandez’s photography, which is united by its formal aesthetics. Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Hernandez begins photographing everyday life in his native city in the 1970s, acknowledging its implied cultural differences of class and race. Waiting, Sitting, Fishing and Some Automobiles (Los Angeles, 1978-1982) is the title of one of his most important early works, a series of 42 black and white photographs that depict people waiting at bus stops, people lunching or sitting in public spaces, people at public fishing areas, and automobile repair shops – a panorama of the ordinariness of working class life. Hernandez applies the formal approach of landscape photography to the streets of Los Angeles, creating detailed compositions of a depth that gives room to socio-political nuances. The normality of the subjects chosen by the artist counteracts the glamorous myth of the metropolis. In his early sequence LA 1971 Hernandez again documents the routines of the urbanites. Positioning his camera in front of a diner’s door he photographs the leaving guests one by one.