It was a pleasure to meet Amanda Dahlgren at the Medium Festival and discover that she is a photographic educator, designer, technician, and craftsman, but above all, she is a photographic artist who has always been fascinated with aesthetics and artistic expression. She brought two projects to the Medium Festival, both looking at how the the housing boom and recent recession have affected areas in Southern California . I was struck by her series, Pre-Abandonded, exploring the idea of aesthetics and almost-built homes that will never see completion.
In addition to teaching and creating her fine art projects, Amanda consults for the VASA Project, an online media center focused on photography, digital video, criticism, visual studies, and new media. She received an MFA in fine art photography from the Academy of Art University in 2011.
Photography has a rich tradition of capturing the abandoned home, often showing the physical marks of the deterioration of the inhabitants’ lives. In this series I am exploring the beginning of this lifecycle by capturing new residential construction in master-planned communities. Where others see the hope and possibilities of a new home, I see “pre-abandoned spaces:” the American dream promised by the model homes unfulfilled by financial missteps, broken relationships, or simply the realities of the hardships of life.