Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Shrouded in mystery

Randi Steinberger came across these shrouded structures while she was driving around LA. Just a drive by wasn't enough to solve the mystery, she had to stop and see the signs attached to the colorful material: DANGER -- FUMIGATION, in English and Spanish. This is the way Los Angelenos get rid of termites by covering and sealing a house in striped material for three days, two for the sulfuryl fluoride gas to be pumped in and one day for it be vented and then wait for the city pest-control officer to say the bugs have been eradicated. The shrouds are nylon and vinyl material, mostly in bright stripes  which are supposed to be unique to each fumigating company, the ultimate practical advert

The sixty-nine one page photos in the landscape book reveal some quite fascinating compositions, especially the long shot ones that include the complete buildings and some of the surrounding trees or other houses in a street. They work because they look so unusual. I thought there were perhaps too many close-ups of the material and the metal clips that hold the joins together, these seem more technical shots that might be used by the fumigating businesses.

The book's production is first-class, a good matt art paper for the three hundred screen printing. The front six pages have an essay by DJ Waldie with personal reminiscences mixed in with some background detail about the companies that offer a fumigating service. Randi Steinberger has captured, with her photos, a quirky little bit of the City of the Angels.

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