I have never been to Leeds, the birthplace and residence of James Lester, photographer. To say the least the nature of his photographs paint a curious picture.
The vividness of new photography; crisp, digital, melt-in-your-mouth colors that seem realer than real. It obscures the content of these pictures. My own visceral reaction, that these indescript places could well have remained untainted for a million years before they are discovered once again by the young Lester, and I ask myself “intern; is this Leeds?”
Here in the states, between our fast-food driven lifestyle and our Manifest-Destiny legacy, one might say we are the pioneers of using and leaving behind, the remains are our abandoned hospitals, mental institutions, desert shacks and squathouses. The photography of James Lester chronicles these dead places, I suppose they are a global oddity rather than national. His images of what looks like an operating room of some kind carry the aura of a resurfaced atlantis, waiting quietly for a day to once again be inhabited, perhaps only briefly by a wayward photographer, and seeing these pictures reminds me how big the world actually is, that these relics still exist, looming off in the distance, waiting for the next brave soul to explore. James Lester makes these places real. Without him, couch potatoes like us would be left without any outlet to observe these monuments to our failed world.