Lay of the Land
6 December 2016

Jeffrey Ladd “Howard Beach, New York”, 1991



Lay of the Land
Photographs by Jeffrey Ladd
December 11, 2016 – February 18, 2017
Opening: December 11, 7-9pm
On view Saturdays 12-6pm and By Appointment

Why even bother going back? Do you feel a tug, an obligation, some kind of guilt? Or are you trying to understand why the fuck anyone, including yourself, would retreat to the relative comfort of slow boredom, the oppression of all that stuff, the crowds of familiar strangers, the obligation to keep up appearances, and the shimmer of vinyl homes, vinyl windows, plastic everything, piles everywhere. You put yourself through the gauntlet of arrivals and departures, the lonely wandering through a familiar map of streets, structures, bodies and faces that couldn’t seem more distant. And you bring it back with you.

Happy holidays from Secret Dungeon.

Jeffrey Ladd is an American photographer born in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania in 1968 and is currently based in Cologne, Germany. His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Open Society Institute, and the Museum of the City of New York among others. Ladd is one of the founders of Errata Editions, an independent publishing company.

Jeffrey Ladd “Milltown, New Jersey”, 1995

Jeffrey Ladd “New York, New York”, 1992

Jeffrey Ladd “Deptford, New Jersey”, 1991

Several times a year, usually around holidays, I would catch a bus ‘home’ and spend a long weekend with my family. Weather permitting, it would not be long before I asked for the keys to my father’s white Toyota truck with a full tank of gas (always on his dime) and drive around with my panoramic camera resting in my lap.

My routes often retraced the neighborhoods I was familiar with before I moved north to New York City. I drove by houses of distant cousins, by houses of friends long gone, and past yards once dominated by skateboard half-pipes on which I would throw my body around like a dishrag without caring much about the future or the past. When I needed a break from making pictures, I’d head to thrift stores and buy arm-loads of novels for only a couple dollars. Back ‘home,’ I would try to photograph my family until they became weary and water-eyed from my persistent ash. Sunday would come fast but not fast enough and I’d board a Greyhound back to the city.

– Jeffery Ladd