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Back Yard, Diamond Bar, CA, from the Los Angeles Documentary Project

1980 Joe Deal Born: Topeka, Kansas 1947 Died: Providence, Rhode Island 2010 gelatin silver print sheet: 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (35.0 x 35.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts through the Photography Museum of Los Angeles © 1980, Joe Deal 1990.38.27 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In Back Yard, Diamond Bar, CA, brick walls converge at sharp angles to clearly define a residential lot cut out of a hillside. Joe Deal’s elevated camera focuses on a single property, while beyond the house, shingled rooftops cut off any view of the sky. Just twenty-four years before Deal arrived, the land that is now the city of Diamond Bar was untouched pasture for grazing cattle. By 1980 the land had been transformed into a sprawling network of suburban communities, strip malls, and parking lots. Deal chose to document the new suburban city because it epitomized the radical development of Southern California. His goal was to remain a neutral observer and describe without “personal interference” the landscape before his camera. His views of newly constructed homes present a brief moment in the rapid evolution of Los Angeles.

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2013


Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

Cityscape - California - Diamond Bar

Cityscape - California - Los Angeles

Landscape - garden

photography - photoprint


gelatin silver

About Joe Deal

Born: Topeka, Kansas 1947 Died: Providence, Rhode Island 2010

More works in the collection by
Joe Deal