Louise Åkebrand was born in Bad Homburg, Germany in 1986 and immigrated to Utah as a teenager where she is currently finishing her BFA in photography at Weber State University. Her work explores spaces of intimacy within the structure of contemporary surveillance.
In 2012, Louise was a finalist in the student fine art category of the New York Photo Awards, exhibiting at the Dumbo Arts Festival.
These images have been selected from a larger series titled Sons of Juárez. What initially drew me to Google Earth Street View is its ability to offer portraits that hold a unique sense of neutrality and even objectivity, despite its many technical failures. People in these random visual samples become mere casualties caught by a lens intended to map geography. I began to wonder what this application might do with a place as complex and perhaps misunderstood as Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
I was surprised to find that the majority of the city had Street View available, significantly more than neighboring El Paso. Google first started recording Juárez in 2009, at a time when the city had already been called the most dangerous city in the world, a place of incomprehensible violence and corruption, and a relentless glimpse into our future.
I spent several hours a week for close to seven months on virtual walks through the city and its suburbs collecting samples. Although the Street View archive of Juárez holds uncanny weight, it also carries a familiar narrative, one of daily life with its insecurities and struggles, even humor. The Street View samples of Juárez are able to visualize the disagreement of narratives in a unique way, a new kind of poetry.
Perhaps that is the reason I was able to have an intimate experience with a place 1800 miles away. The many hours spent in the bright sunlight feel like solid memories to me, hardly two-dimensional, and I have to remind myself at times that I have in fact never physically been to Ciudad Juárez. In reality, I am just one of a thousand gazes, surveilling from a safe distance.
Artist listings in our Utah Artists Directories are open to all visual artists who reside part-time or full-time in the state of Utah. The listings will remain on our site as long as the artist resides in the state. There is no annual fee for the artist listings. A one-time setup fee is required to create an artist listing. To learn how to create your listing click here.