Alleyways occupy a unique position in the urban landscape. Neither entirely public nor private, conceptually they are non-places, often without names and left off of maps. They are the negative space of cities, used to discard or store what can’t be left in front. The spaces are largely accidental and unconsidered, literally the backs of walls, fences, and buildings. The aesthetic quality of alleys is the product of overlapping individual interests, indifferences, and happenstances. It is an architecture that is not designed to be seen. Acutely mindful of this, the project does not really show empty tableaus, but it instead renders the alleyways of West Los Angeles as an animated presence. The viewer is made aware of the gravity of these simple arrangements by the project’s use of warm colors and quiet compositions that render each layered visual as a part of the residents’ successive quotidian lives. It is an empty space that is still full of life, and usefulness.
Justin Fiset’s photographic work often involves the narrative capacities of inhabited spaces. Focusing on the details of unpeopled landscapes, he attempts to contextualize the otherwise banal elements of everyday life in order to highlight the complex relationships that exist between these spaces, the people who use them, and the inscribed histories that can be observed. Drawing inspiration from his love of literature, Fiset attempts to imbue in his photographs the compression of a short story and the rhythm of a poem. In past projects he has employed found photographs to examine themes related to the limitations of language and the construction of personal narratives. Fiset studied photography at the University of New Mexico, and since 2007 he has worked as an advisor and appraiser with collectors of fine art photography. His photographs have been shown nationally in venues such as The Center for Fine Art Photography and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, as well as being published internationally in publications such as Der Greif, Ena Rolla Filma, and The Photo Review. Raised in West Virginia and New Mexico, Fiset currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his partner and their dog, Ned.