In Hometowns, London-based photographer John MacLean traces the origins of his most beloved artists by photographing the neighbourhoods in which they were raised. Traveling across the globe, from William Eggleston’s Sumner, Mississippi to Wassily Kandisky’s Moscow, he injects each homestead with the aesthetic tenors of the artists themselves, imagining each not only as it stands today but also how it must have stood years ago, when seen through the young eyes of those children who would grow up to become his heroes.
With the artists revisited in Hometowns, MacLean embarks on a visual conversation wherein their voices collide with and contend with his own. Each place is seen through the prism and style of artist that came out of it, but the photographer isn’t transcribing word-for-word what’s come before. Instead, he injects his own voice, steps back and echoes his predecessors, and joins in once more. It’s a precarious dance that honours the past without plagiarizing it; here, the act of mimesis paradoxically becomes a way of asserting an artistic otherness. Ellyn Kail.