CALIFORNIA UNEDITED! The archives of R.J. Arnold
CURATED BY ANTHONY LEPORE
UNEDITED! is a Paris Photo Los Angeles exhibition program that unveils rare or never-before-seen photographic material. After the success of last year’s LAPD exhibition dedicated to the archives of the Los Angeles Police Department, Paris Photo is happy to present for its 2015 edition, CALIFORNIA UNEDITED!
CALIFORNIA UNEDITED! The archives of R.J. Arnold exhibits for the first time in Los Angeles an exceptional collection of photography from late 19th century California. These rarely-seen glass plate photographs depict the community of San Luis Obispo through the eyes of one photographer, Richard J. Arnold.
A remarkable portraitist, Arnold mastered interior lighting, capturing the details of the delicate poses and pensive glances of his subjects who come to life before our eyes. We discover in some of his portraits the work of a talented ‘retoucher’ who literally wiped away wrinkles and recovered the youth of his sitters. Unlike most turn-of-the-century archives, Arnold’s photographs include a rare glimpse into the early Latino, Asian, and Native American communities of California.
It is a privilege to be able to share this historical collection as these glass plates were once doomed to destruction. Time, however, has left its irreparable trace cracking the decomposing emulsion of these photographs. It is thanks to the guidance and efforts of artist Anthony Lepore and the patient dedication of the volunteers of the El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society that these phantasmal images have resurfaced, salvaged from under layers of decay.
Paris Photo thanks the El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society and the volunteers who with perseverance and love were able to preserve these portraits of a bygone era.
“UNEDITED! Archives of the LAPD” was curated by Julien Frydman for the 2014 edition of Paris Photo Los Angeles.