"Southern California was, by the reports of those who lived there at the turn of the century, beautiful; there were live oaks on the hills, orchards across the valleys, and ornamental cypress, palms, and eucalyptus lining the roads. Even now we can almost extrapolate an Eden from what has lasted — from the architecture of old eucalyptus trunks, for example, and from the astringent perfume of the trees’ flowers as it blends with the sweetness of orange blossoms.
What citrus remain today, however, are mostly abandoned, scheduled for removal, and large eucalyptus have often been vandalized, like the hundreds west of Fontana that have been struck head high with shotgun fire.
Whether those trees that stand are reassuring is a question for a lifetime. All that is clear is the perfection of what we were given, the unworthiness of our response, and the certainty, in view of our current deprivation, that we are judged.
We cherish intimations of mercy. I found once, in the smog, in a depression on an otherwise scraped plain beside a freeway, three kumquat bushes; they had been some farm woman’s treasure, next to a house now splintered under earthmoving machinery, and they stood that afternoon more alien than could have been the first such plants from China. Any thought that they might survive was unreasonable. It was difficult to think at all, in fact, against the noise of the traffic. They would not survive. And yet each had, untended by us, gone on to cover itself with golden fruit, as if by the most romantic script. They were implausible but real.”
— Robert Adams, Introduction to Los Angeles Spring, (1986)
The last of a three part selection from the work of three inordinately talented photographers presently working in California: Gregory Halpern, Ron Jude, and Susan Lipper.