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Photo Essay: Jacob Love's State

Inspired by Jehovah Witnesses and their Watchtower magazine, the photographer went on a US road trip and saw the world from a new perspective

Prepare to be plunged into a world of dizzying new perceptions as your focus is shifted, and the familiar is transformed into the unknown. This is the photography of Jacob Love, soon to go on show at Dalston Superstore. Here, the exhibition-goer will travel alongside Love on his road trip across the United States, witnessing his stay with a mysteriously anonymous, rural community, and confronting his curiosities regarding what he calls the ‘post American dream’.

Love has returned to London with a set of images that revolutionise the way we look at landscapes that surround us, consequently revealing tensions between vision and reality. He encourages us to see through fresh perspectives, and free ourselves from all preconceptions.

Dazed Digital: What inspired you to embark on your road trip across America?
Jacob Love: It was actually the Jehovah Witnesses. I was really inspired by the weird images you find in the Watchtower magazine of angelic, vacant subjects in epic landscapes or abundant gardens. I was stuck in rainy London struggling to think how I was going to find landscapes like that, when a friend’s Facebook post popped up with these amazing images of Utah. He was on a massive road trip and within a week I had flown to New Mexico, with 5 cameras to join him.

DD: Who is the pink and masturbating figure and what effect do you feel he has on the photographs?
Jacob Love: He’s my friend Angel. He appears to be both out of context with the environment yet totally part of it. I think this makes you question the reality of the landscape. Is this really where he is, or is it a fantasy projected outwards masking his real location? I had this sense of a massive disconnect between the American landscape which is so vast, epic and insanely beautiful and the culture, and in some ways Angel visualises that for me.

DD: What do you find so fascinating about turning the landscapes upside down?
Jacob Love: About 90% of my dreams are spent with me walking on my hands, and my mum has told me that I spent a lot of my childhood with my head between my legs, looking at the world upside-down. Turning things upside-down is a very simple way of forcing people to look at what something actually looks like. Specifically in this work I really like the way that turning the landscape on its head positions you at the centre of the space, like God. Also because the earth, the landscape, is hovering above us in the pictures it creates a sense of urgency. The earth is literally looming over us and could collapse at any minute, it demands attention and we must deal with it.

States will be held at Dalston Superstore, 117 Kingsland High Street from the 20th April – 3rd June 2012