Postcards from Paradise

16 – 31 August 2017


Postcards from Paradise explores traces of the American Dream along a highway in central California where gold mines were once prevalent in the 1800s. Once a major destination for idealists and dreamers, Owens Valley lies forgotten and empty. Now partially desolate towns were once given optimistic names such as Independence and Paradise, promising fortune for those who risked everything to pursue bigger dreams made tangible by the California gold rush. The reality, however, is that few settlers achieved any success from their endeavors, leaving empty handed with as much haste as they came in with.

Today, little evidence is left of the Gold Rush Era, yet hints of a steady economic downfall permeates throughout the valley. My photographs attempt to bring out the various manifestations of this region, in a direct representation of old and new. Most importantly, the series calls attention to the carelessness with which Americans settled and subsequently gave up on the West, leaving behind a footprint on the landscape and ultimately exposing the myth of the American Dream.



Sinziana Velicescu is a photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Film. Her photography explores human intervention with nature in landscapes that have undergone political, social, or environmental change. Selections from her award winning series, On The Periphery, have been shown in galleries internationally in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Rome. Most recently, Photo Boite named her one of the 30 Female photographers under 30 to watch in 2016.




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