Julien Sage is a twenty-two-year-old photographer living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Sage studied photography at California College Of The Arts before deciding to move back to Los Angeles and start his publishing project Mallard Press. His work revolves around notions of youth, anxiety, object personification and levels of visual discomfort and simultaneous harmony. Sage’s use of hard flash and bold color reference a sort of American snapshot aesthetic while they create startling compositions and questions presented as visual parallels. Curiosity is a constant through line in Sage’s work and his photographs act as a dissection of that curiosity.
“If I don’t understand something immediately, the more likely I am to abstract that thing in a way that is specific to the way I feel about it.”
I started making these photographs in January of 2018 when I got my first job on a weed farm. Marijuana was legalized in California three weeks before my first time going up to the farm. After a couple of weeks on the farm, I knew I had an opportunity to make photos of something that was in a transitional stage. These photographs exist in a separate space then most of my work and I have been hesitant to share them as I’m still figuring out what they mean to me and how they function as a body of work. In pairing and sequencing these photos, a few active motifs have surfaced for me. A lot of the pictures I made reference absence or some kind of abandonment. In the photographs, I present this farm as something beautiful and simultaneously antiquated and fading. It would be truly abandoned not even two months after these photos were made but in a lot of ways, it felt like it already was. We were the last gasp. The model of how pot was farmed was falling apart and this property was a microcosm. The sentimentality of the land sunk into me and I began to photograph the farm as both a space of cultivation as well as a homestead. The last few trips I made up to the farm I found myself photographing mostly during golden hour and sunset. These photos felt nostalgic when I was making them. There is a profound and enhanced beauty in the ephemeral. When we are so lucky to recognize the fading of something we cherish, a unique moment occurs where that thing becomes eternalized within us. I think of the farm in this way. This project now acts as both a love letter and a farewell.
To view more of Julien Sage’s work please visit his website.