Oklahoma City, Ed Ruscha's hometown, by John MacLean
Oklahoma City, Ed Ruscha's hometown, by John MacLean

Whose hometown is this?

John Maclean photographs the hometowns of his artistic heroes, adding a little of their style into his shots

The British photographer John MacLean is fascinated his favourite artists' influences. In particular, he is interested in the places where they spent their formative years. So, he has travelled to the towns, cities and neighbourhoods where his heroes grew up for his project Hometowns.

 

Padstow, UK, hometown of Bridget Riley, by John MacLean
Padstow, UK, hometown of Bridget Riley, by John MacLean

Rather than simply documenting the location, MacLean has instead paid homage to each artist in his shots. The photograph of Oklahoma City, hometown of Ed Ruscha, contains a Ruscha-esqe text across the centre of the image, while the shot of William Eggleston's hometown of Sumner, Mississippi, has the oblique formation and heady pigments common to an Eggleston photograph.

The project, MacLean explains, began as a single line his notebook: 'photograph the hometowns of your heroes'. Today it consists of 65 images shot in 25 different towns and cities.

 

Muswell Hill, London, England, hometown of Rachael Whiteread by John MacLean
Muswell Hill, London, England, hometown of Rachael Whiteread by John MacLean

The photos range from hazy, light-filled shots of James Turrell's Pasadena, through to the near abstract shots of snowy Moscow hometown of Wassily Kandinsky. Also look out for John Baldessari's coloured spheres in MacLean's photos of his hometown, National City, CA, and Bridget Riley-style stripes in the sky over her hometown of Padstow, England.

Moscow, hometown of Wassily Kandinsky, by John MacLean
Moscow, hometown of Wassily Kandinsky, by John MacLean

"Paying tribute to the spirit in which each artist worked was a central concern, but intrinsically this meant making my own imprint too," says MacLean. "After all, to make works that were mere genuflections would have been an artistic betrayal."

Sumner, Mississippi, hometown or William Eggleston, by John MacLean
Sumner, Mississippi, hometown or William Eggleston, by John MacLean

We think MacLean's shots are both faithful and original. Take a look at the project, in full, here. For greater insight into the works of Ed Ruscha consider our books; and find out more about today's developments in fine-art photography, consider our book Vitamin Ph. Buy them both from the people who made them, here.