In Lago, Ron Jude returns to the California desert of his early childhood as if a detective in search of clues to his own identity. In a book of 54 photographs made between 2011 and 2014, he attempts to reconcile the vagaries of memory (and the uncertainty of looking) with our need to make narrative sense of things. Using a desolate desert lake as a theatrical backdrop, Jude meanders through the arid landscape of his youth, making note of everything from venomous spiders to discarded pornography. If one considers these traces to be a coded language of some sort, Jude’s act of photographing and piecing them together becomes a form of cryptography – like a poetic archeology that, rather than attempting to arrive at something conclusive, looks for patterns and rhythms that create congruity out of the stuttering utterances of the visible world. According to Jude, “these harmonies, when we’re lucky enough to find them, are probably the closest we can get to discovering actual ‘meaning’ and grasping the potency of place.”
Ron Jude was born in Los Angeles in 1965 but was raised in rural Idaho. Jude’s photographs have been exhibited at venues such as The Photographers’ Gallery (London), Daugeu Cultural Center (Daugeu, South Korea), Proekt_Fabrika (Moscow) and Roth/Horowitz Gallery (New York). Jude is the co-founder of A-Jump Books and the author of Alpine Star, Postcards, Other Nature, emmett, Lick Creek Line, Executive Model, and Lago. Jude has lectured extensively about his work, most recently at places such as The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rochester Institute of Technology and the Carnegie International Satellite Apartment in Pittsburgh. His photographs have been reproduced in Blind Spot, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, and Doubletake, among others. An overview of his three Idaho projects (Alpine Star, emmett, and Lick Creek Line) was recently exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago in a three-person show entitled Backstory. He contributed one of ten books to the Super Labo (Tokyo) collaborative project entitled Lost Home, which was recently released at Paris Photo. Jude is represented by Gallery Luisotti in Santa Monica, Robert Morat Galerie in Hamburg, and Galeria Alfacinha in Lisbon. He lives in Eugene, OR and teaches photography at University of Oregon. Jude was a recipient of a Light Work Grant in 2010.