Andrew Ward, is an L.A. based photographer who performs a public service to the community (although this isn’t the main thrust of his photography). He photographs abandoned sofas in Los Angeles. Originally from Dublin, he relocated to L.A. to work in Hollywood as an assistant director.
Upon finding an abandoned sofa, he pushes and shoves it into a better position, photographs it, returns it to its original position and then reports the sofa’s location to the city for pickup via a smartphone app. The photographed furniture pieces provide a bit of a visual history of the areas that he drives around in.
“Although they’re inanimate objects, there’s a certain amount of humanity to each one”.
Ward tries to photograph on overcast days in order to get good colour satuation and tones from the old furniture. It seems that he either moves the sofa right up to the curb and photographs from the middle of the street or right up against the wall – I’m guessing the sofas photographed backing the walls were taken in alleys or parking lots. The project is a typology. Some of the photographs are presented in a grid format on his website which makes for interesting viewing as these images give hints as to the surroundings where hedges and fences provide a clear delineation that seems to emphasize the exclusion of the abandoned sofa. There is something rather sad about this. We catch glimpses of the house or property behind the sofas and wonder about the identity of the owners. There is less of an identity attached to the sofas that are positioned up against the wall, but maybe more mystery. It feels as if they have been kidnapped and crudely discarded in some alley far away from their “home”. There is just something very jarring about seeing a very ornate, obviously once expensive French settee standing in an alley. To me these sofas feel more abandoned than the ones on the sidewalk.
These pieces of furniture that once enjoyed a private life behind closed doors, and could probably have countless stories to tell if they could, are now relegated to the public eye to be scrutinized, ridiculed, picked over or abhored.
Brunhuber, Kim (2015) L.A. photographer finds beauty in abandoned couches [online] CBC News. Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/l-a-photographer-finds-beauty-in-abandoned-couches-1.3127823 [Accessed 24 August, 2017]
Ward, Andrew (n.d.) The Sofas of LA [online] Andrew Ward Photography. Available at: http://andrewward.com/#sofas-of-l-a [Accessed 24 August, 2017]