Photographers Clément Chapillon, Ricardo Nagaoka, Francesca Allen and Brant Slomovic met for the first time in September 2018. Flying into San Francisco from various corners of the world, the four photographers spent the next 10 days travelling together across California. A filmmaker and a writer joined them on their journey.
California is the third largest state in the US and so the Meet California trip was split into two chapters. The group looped around northern California first – San Francisco, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mendocino, Montgomery Woods State Reserve and finally Sonoma County – before flying south and exploring a handful of the state’s more balmy regions – Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Malibu.
The commission, organised by British Journal of Photography and supported by Visit California, tasked each photographer with creating a new personal project that would shed light on the lesser-known sides of the state. The photographers approached the subject matter from inside out: looking beyond icons and clichés, and instead immersing themselves in the everyday intricacies of Californian life.
For several of the photographers this meant forming intimate relationships – being invited into their subjects’ homes and stepping, albeit momentarily, into their worlds – for others it involved getting lost in vast landscapes; stumbling upon scenes and communities that would otherwise go unexplored.
Behind the scenes
California through the eyes of four photographers
Brant Slomovic: Wild Flowers
Francesca Allen photographs women across California
Ricardo Nagaoka: Gold Mountain
Californian wilderness: A feeling within
Meet California: The winners
Meet California: The shortlist
Meet California: A handful of the strongest submissions so far
Lakewood: A modern day utopia
“For the whole year I experienced America from a truck”
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve
‘Meet California’ is a British Journal of Photography commission in partnership with Visit California.