California is a law onto itself, a state like no other, an American outpost where new ideas, ways of living, and business models are invented on a daily basis. For the last three years McLaren has been trying to make sense of this outlying state on the Pacific, attempting with his camera to work out why so many people come here, what they are striving for and what is the underlying ideology that unites them. The resulting work he calls Westcoastism.

Whether in the the vehement polemic of street preachers, the faded iconography of Hollywood, or the exhaustion of a homeless woman in downtown Los Angeles, he has taken a series of un-posed images which show the Westcoast ideology in its rawest form. People are simultaneously enervated and exhausted but always hopeful that better and more prosperous times are around the corner.

Most of these pictures were taken in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Palm Springs, all of which have their own legends which we Europeans seem to absorb as children via popular culture. Whenever we travel to these places we instinctively know what they look like and why they exist. The hard part for a photographer is trying to get beyond those motifs and well-worn cliches to discover what lies beneath.

11am - 5pm Tue - Sat


Stadium Plaza

Wood Street

CF10 1LA


Stephen McLaren

01 -31 October