Eli Durst was born and raised in Austin, Texas and studied American Studies and Photography at Wesleyan University. After receiving his BA, Eli moved to New York City where he worked at Griffin Editions, a renowned fine art printing studio, and assisted photographer Joel Meyerowitz. He is currently an MFA candidate in Photography at the Yale School of Art.
These images come from a series called Pinnacle Realty, a visual examination of the physical and cultural landscape of American suburbs, the environment in which I grew up. While I am now far enough removed from this environment to see its ambiguities, idiosyncrasies, and shortcomings, I still feel a personal connection to it, finding a certain level of comfort in its indistinguishable strip malls and soaring overpasses. Formally, the images mimic the subject matter, using bright, saturated colors and neat, balanced compositions to echo the manicured and highly controlled setting.
At the same time, I did not want to reproduce the stereotypical portrayal of the suburbs as an intellectual wasteland. Instead, I sought to weave my own personal narrative into a matrix of suburban iconography, taking mundane objects or everyday actions— like a stack of hamburgers or a woman cleaning out her ears—and studying them as a culture’s monuments and rituals: a hieroglyphic record of seemingly pointless moments. By imbuing these disposable artifacts with an uncommon importance, I hope to portray suburban identities as an amalgamation of signs and symbols, borrowed from both a real past and an imagined one.
To see more of Eli’s work, please visit his website.