Ray Carofano riverrun

Ray Carofano’s riverrun is a suite of photographs capturing seldom seen images of the fifty-one mile storm drain that is still flatteringly called the Los Angeles River. Forsaken for so long and fenced off from the very communities it once sustained, the river is now primarily a flood control channel and conduit for urban waste.

Taking “less-picturesque” portions of the river as his subject, Carofano’s carefully framed images reveal the not-so-hidden majesty of the concrete, the smooth lines of the river’s channel and its functionality. Sophisticated geometry, atmospheric light and color, and rightness of scale lend these images a painterly quality that requires close observation to determine that they are indeed photographs. Conditions considered appalling appear alluring, serene – each image paying homage to the intersection between nature and the designed environment. Anyone who has looked at something long enough will tell you that eventually everything that is familiar becomes strange, becomes other. Carofano turns his subject into narrator. The river narrates itself. It makes you want to look and, more importantly, look again.

Ray Carofano’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad including solo exhibitions at Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba, the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego, CA, and Galeria de Arte Fotografo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Fototeca de Cuba, Nat’l Archives, Havana, Cuba, Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas, U. of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, among others.