American Identity

Burlington, Bayou & Bywater

There is an impression forming in my mind about Shane Lavalette that he is a photographer of such great significance we should be lining him up to enter the hall of fame, and yet – at this moment in time he avoids definition. It’s my opinion that his work connects into ideas of American national identity on a level with the great Lewis Baltz, who for me along with many others, form a thread of turning the camera on an America that Lavalette belongs to.

America has an uncanny understanding of what it is to document itself and it's no surprise that the rest of the world associate the US with photography. We also associate it with journalism on such a visual scale that it runs alongside landscape. The ideas of space, sky, mountain, water, bird, bear, rock are like signposts leading to a deep psychic celebration of the land.

Shane’s work is lyrical. He captures a sense of something, he suggests stories, he offers no comment save compassion.

Editorially Shane has been commissioned successfully for the longer photo essay that has begun to appear again on the websites of organisations like Curbed – a broad reach site for local knowledge, and Topic – an ambitious storytelling platform.

Pictured here originally for Curbed, Shane documented the Old North End of Burlington, Vermont and two areas of New Orleans; Bywater and Bayou St. John.