From the title essay:
Inland Southern California occupies the margin between two mythical landscapes of the American West—the wide-open spaces of the Basin and Range and the strange dream of Los Angeles. It is set between L.A.’s distillation of golden structures on hardscrabble streets and 500,000 square miles of saltbush, sage, and aspiration. It contains a little of both, and a lot of nothing at all.
At its core, In the Sunshine of Neglect is [a book] about place and experiment. It is about artists using the rapidly developing spaces of Inland Southern California as a tabula rasa, a laboratory to dissect new subjects and deploy new approaches. In these interstitial spaces, this zone of neglect on the periphery of Los Angeles, artists have transformed extremity into new practice, banality into discovery. Some have been engaged here for long durations—even lifetimes, while others have cycled through like grad students visiting a research lab down the hall. But the entire current generation is influenced by the new avenues of photography established several of the artists—Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Judy Fiskin, Anthony Hernandez, Sant Khalsa, Laurie Brown, and others—not long ago in the West, this part of the West.
In Inland Southern California, photographers criss-cross a landscape so stripped down, so newly manufactured that treasures can be found right at the surface, every surface. Most of [the] artists do not define their task as delving into development, decay, or decline. For the most part, they seek to simply look at the wide range of what is, as if looking can ever be simple. But it’s fruitful to undertake the task in a place especially exposed and revealing. A place founded on faith in constant expansion, regardless of cultural or ecological consequences. A place willing to consistently erase the present for a stake in an imagined future. In short, a place that nakedly stands in for the Western World.
Douglas McCulloh is a photographer, writer, and curator based in Southern California. His work has shown internationally in more than 250 exhibitions including Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, France; La Triennale di Milano, Italy; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; Instituto de Cultura, Barcelona; Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles; Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and The Cooper Union School of Art, New York. He has authored six books including The Great Picture: Making the World’s Largest Photograph (Hudson Hills Press, New York), part of the Legacy Project Collaborative. The most noted of his curatorial projects is Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists, the first major survey of photography by blind artists, which has traveled to fifteen museums in five countries.