Artist's Statement

Dan Farnum

Syndicated is an exploration of sites that were used in TV shows and movies related to childhood maturation. Hollywood productions form a collective sense of adolescence and nostalgia for many Americans. Influential shows and movies such as The Wonder Years, Freaks and Geeks, and Back to the Future established the basis for shared teenage memories.

My photographs are an extension of the New Topographic movement. I use this objective style while capturing places that are both actual sites and fictional pop culture landmarks. The places are pilgrimage destinations that contain constructed memories. My photographs are shot in a manner that creates a taxonomy, which allows for an anthropologic evaluation of experiences that both are authentic and contrived. The portraits in Syndicated are of ordinary kids, teens, and young adults that reside in these types of neighborhoods. They are another reminder of the actuality of the locations. They also function as a stand-in for the viewer similar to a character in a movie.

This series also includes images that were found adjacent to the scenes from the shows and movies. These images suggest an uncanny ambiguity and familiarity with the places. Filming locations are frequently in unidentified towns or are named as fictional places that can only be found on the screen. Some sites are named after actual places, but are commonly shot in another city to save money. As a result, much of the Los Angeles sprawl contains the latent possibility of being from a movie or TV show that could take place in any suburban town.

Coming of age is a time of self-exploration, but this is mediated by the stories that are shown to us. I aim to document the sentimental places where these narratives are acted out, which simultaneously exist and don’t exist.