In “Vote for Change,” Lodiza LePore uses irony and juxtaposition to reveal the dystopic absurdity of American life in 2020, especially in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. Clinical waiting rooms with reminders to social distance (while two men sit literally side by side looking at their smart phones) and a screen with warning signs of coronavirus hover above a woman looking in the other direction—unable to see the signs or the screen—are reminders of our over-immersion in information technology. In one case, people are oblivious to the surroundings and buried in technology while another is buried in the surroundings and oblivious to technology.
LePore’s compositions are more about the subject’s relationship to their surroundings than a mere reflection of the subject. A woman sits, legs splayed, in front of a Citibank building near a wall of what looks like ATMs in the background resembling a row of slot machines in a bankrupt casino. Incongruously, two unattended dogs sniff at something on the floor. It is a short story in visual form. The woman wears a mask emblazoned with the word VOTE. The narrative is the viewer’s to imagine.
A “FREE PRAYER DRIVE-THRU” sign is ensconced in the side yard of a sad-sack home near a couple of cheap chairs along with a “NO GOD NO GOOD” cornhole game for good measure. This could be a metaphor for religion in America with the exception of the word “FREE.”
It must have felt like a little gift from God when LePore happened upon a row of portable toilets covered in crime scene tape with the United States Capital Building in the background. As Jeff Foxworthy said about his jokes, many sent to him by fans, “this stuff writes itself!”
But of course, that isn’t right, it is LePore’s keen eye for observation, and her ability to capture both wit and wacky in a single frame—a nod to Elliott Erwitt—that creates these stories. When the fun wears off, the dystopic remains and we realize we weren’t really laughing after all. —Billy Howard
These images reflect the mood of a nation spiraling down to dystopia. Americans descend into despair, loneliness and isolation as they face a national medical emergency that their leaders treat as an opportunity to deepen the culture war by spreading blatant misinformation. In the meantime, we see individuals paralyzed at the prospect of losing everything they need and value: family, social interaction, income, essential freedoms, democracy and their very lives.
The Certainty of New Winds
New winds are blowing strong
across the landscape everywhere
you look. They have been examined,
their substance and meaning
dissected and conjecture runs
rampant, while certainty hides,
as always. All we can tell at
this point is that there will be
death, there will be blood.
That much is certain in this wind.
If a new thought can enter the mind, even for the briefest moment, then change has a chance. Through this work my aim is to deconstruct the American ‘fog’ & other fairy tales by exposing a critical view of the actual state of things, to reveal the true nature of human life stripped of pretenses that hide authentic feelings of loneliness, isolation & insecurity. Inspired by the notion that every split second is unique, I observe humans being human. I remain an observer, not a participant.
Joan Didion remarked that “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” I’ve always been interested in the reality behind the stories, and the gap between the reality and the story. My images tend to depict stark contrasts between different things in the same image, or between what is depicted in the image and the “conventional wisdom”—the story that we tell ourselves. That often results in what many people call surreal. I just call it real.
This photographic vision has been featured on book covers and in several publications, including B & W, The Photo Review & Creative Quarterly, Pastiche and shown in U.S. galleries from coast to coast, including European venues.