Strangeness and familiarity come together in the photographs of Canadian-British Lorena Lohr. Travelling around the American Southwest by train, Greyhound bus and on foot periodically since 2010, her journey through nameless streets and forgotten highways is documented in her still life photographic series. Lohr travels alone and her pictures are, for the most part, devoid of people. Instead, an alternative portrait of the individuals who populate these spaces is built up through the traces that they leave behind in fleeting landscapes, bars, motels and suburban houses. Recurring motifs in her study of the layered histories of local towns suggest the allure of the exotic and the sadness of unfulfilled dreams. Feelings of desire, aspiration and loneliness emerge, as fantasy and reality intermingle in her framing of surfaces and textures.
Lohr's ongoing fascination with the Mexican border town El Paso is revealed as an extensive photographic survey of the city's surface. Her investigation exposes a town in flux, caught in a crossfire, as the gradual encroachment of homogenised American corporation's creeps in. Lohr captures a fading prosperity of El Paso in the 1920s. Hand painted signage and buildings with ornate cornices and mouldings interject dusty pastel cityscapes, recalling the passing of a golden era.
Lohr's poetic imagery documents El Paso as a place that is constantly shifting. She says "The Mexican people and places that make this city unique are at risk of becoming a thing of the past. Time is running out, and I believe that a photographic catalogue of these streets, and its buildings and interiors, is an important and urgent proposition."