L.A. Paradise Chimera - Emma Rosenthal Photography

L. A Paradise Chimera
Artist Statement


1. A wild visionary illusion, dream or delusion.

2. A mythical beast usually with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a snake, but can also refer to any being that is a combination of features related to different creatures. (definition mine).


1.(Avestan/Old Persian: Pairi.daêza; Koine Greek: Παράδεισος Parádeisos; Arabic:‎ Firdaws) is a religious term for a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. It is often used in the same context as that of utopia. (Wikipedia)

2. A common reference to Los Angeles: the beach, mountains, climate, the cars, the conspicuous consumption, etc. according to those wealthy enough to insulate themselves from the rest of us. (definition mine)

 Los Angeles is a huge metropolis of cars, freeways, apartments and single family homes. The cost of living is very high, and distances between place of employment and home can be significant. People work long hours simply to afford housing and basic needs. Additionally, the motion picture industry infuses a certain superficial ethic and extreme disparities in wealth that percolates through the entire social structure of the city.

Los Angeles Paradise Chimera (Chimera) consists of several autonomous distinct series of photographs on the theme of Los Angeles, and my personal experience, in dialogue with the city. The image and text (photo-poetics) convey this solitary and often isolated dialogue with the city, exploring themes of economic inequities, alienation, discrimination, race, culture, DISability, convergence, the environment, the tenuous balance and conflict of beauty and ugliness, the emphasis on image and the search for identity, disconnection, the struggle for connection and community and the profound risk of telling the truth of one’s experience—saying what is felt but otherwise unacknowledged. Most of the text in Chimera consists of tweet-sized poems, which have also appeared on my Twitter feed and are part of the growing genre of tweet poetry. These poems blend the immediacy of tweets with the efficiency and ephemeral qualities of poetry: fast, traversing great distances, intimate anonymity, the velocity of modern communication.

All photographs in Chimera were taken within Los Angeles City and County. Each series within Chimera has its own specific properties, themes, text and style. Chimera uses a variety of photographic formats, including medium format, 35mm, and digital format, as well as a variety of films and processes, such as cross processing, black and white (traditional wet lab), C-41 processing (both wet lab, and digitally processed) and digital imaging via a digital camera. A variety of cameras will also be utilized, including plastic Diana cameras, and a Holga stereoscopic camera, as well as a Mamiya Pro 645 and a Canon EOS 5D (Mark 1).