Over the past 50 years, Anthony Hernandez has crafted a richly varied oeuvre, ranging from a distinctive style of black-and-white street photography to color photographs of abstracted details of his surroundings. Much of Hernandez’s work focuses on his native Los Angeles, revealing a unique insight into the people and landscape of this much-pictured city. Switching from a handheld to a large format camera in 1978, and from black-and-white to color in 1984, Hernandez’s approach to photography is characterized by a slower form of looking. His carefully composed, formally rigorous photographs offer an in depth and unflinching examination of whatever he turns his lens to.
In his critically acclaimed series documenting the temporary encampments of the homeless in Los Angeles, Landscapes for the Homeless (1988-1991), Hernandez eschews direct portraiture, focusing instead on the traces of this precarious form of existence; items of clothing, bedding, and crudely crafted furniture. Continuing in a similar vein, Hernandez’s most recent series, Discarded (2012-2015), explores abandoned sites in desert communities across Southern California. Featuring interior shots of vacated homes, as well as exterior photographs of the buildings and desolate landscapes, there is a haunted quality to this work in which Hernandez deliberately blurs the line between absence and presence, the visible and invisible.
Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Anthony Hernandez lives and works in Los Angeles and Challis, Idaho. His work has been exhibited at numerous institutions, including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth; the Vancouver Art Gallery; the Seattle Art Museum; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany; and the Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris. His work is included in many major public collections including J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
Hernandez is a recipient of the 1999 Rome Prize and has been named a United States Artists Fellow (2009). Monographs include Anthony Hernandez (SFMOMA); Waiting, Sitting, Fishing and Some Automobiles (Loosestrife Editions); Everything (Nazraeli Press); Pictures for Rome (Smart Art Press); Sons of Adam: Landscapes for the Homeless II (Musee de L’Elysee and Centre National de la Photographie); Landscapes for the Homeless (Sprengel Museum); and Anthony Hernandez (Vancouver Art Museum).