Photographer Janna Ireland, in collaboration with the Southland Institute, discussed intersections of photography, architecture, motherhood, race, domesticity, portraiture, class, and documentation in four bodies of work about Greater Los Angeles.
Ireland’s interest in architecture began with West Hollywood (2012), a series of black and white photographs capturing pockets of stillness and isolation amidst the buzz of the city. Two years ago, Ireland began researching and photographing the buildings of Paul R. Williams, the legendary Angeleno architect who, over the course of a 50-year career, designed more than 2000 buildings. These photographs, part of an ongoing project, were exhibited last winter at Woodbury University’s Hollywood gallery in There Is Only One Paul R. Williams, curated by Andrea Dietz and Audrey Landreth and organized by the Julius Shulman Institute.
In The Spotless Mirror, and her most recent body of work, Milk and Honey, Ireland explores gendered spaces, domesticity, isolation, black identity, and the performance of femininity in a house in the San Fernando Valley. The photographs embody an intermingling of reality and fantasy, place and image, interior and exterior.
Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia, but has chosen Los Angeles as her home. She holds an MFA the from UCLA Department of Art and a BFA from the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU. She currently teaches photography at Pasadena City College. Ireland is the 2013 recipient of the Snider Prize, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago. In 2018/Earlier this year, she was named a Cultural Trailblazer by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, and in group exhibitions across the United States and internationally. She has been published in Aperture, Art Papers, Vice, and The Los Angeles Times.
The Southland Institute (for critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices) is dedicated to exploring, identifying, and implementing meaningful, affordable, sustainable alternatives in art and design education in the United States. At its core are an unaccredited postgraduate typography workshop and evolving public online repository of educational resources, built around the tools, processes, histories, and discourses of typography, design, and critical art-making. It is also a forum for inquiry into the processes, potentials, and complications of higher education and its attendant structures and systems.