Whitewash is an artful and idealized survey of architecture in contemporary Los Angeles. Rather than setting out to document the city as it is, Nicholas Alan Cope creates photographs of the city as he chooses to see it. His goal is to strip away the extraneous and the unsightly, focusing on the sheer beauty and simplicity of the L.A. cityscape. To an outsider, the city can be an unsightly sprawl of stucco and strip malls. Even the sunlight can be unforgiving and harsh, bleaching the landscape into a pale hue. The beauty to Cope, however, lies in the consistency and ubiquity of the buildings in the city combined with the severity of the light highlighting the stark elegance of the architecture. Schools, churches, homes, businesses, and industrial buildings all share a common-form language. There is something egalitarian and almost welcoming about the idea that, taken out of context, a bank and a temple can be interchangeable. Looking beyond these apparent similarities there are a series of noticeable design features that are repeated throughout the city either by necessity or in the interest of a common aesthetic. Most notably, there is an emphasis on volume, which is stressed by a lack of extraneous detail or adornment. A small yet minimal structure can have a greater sense of volume than a large ornate one. It is this simplicity and directness in the architecture that has fueled the project, Cope's goal always being to accentuate and exemplify what is already present.
Nicholas Alan Cope was born in Takoma Park, Maryland and started taking photographs as a teenager. He moved to Los Angeles in 2002 and began studying photography at Art Center College of Design in 2004. His time is now split between a series of personal projects and a growing commercial practice. He also works in collaboration with creative director Dustin Arnold on a number of his projects as well as an ongoing publication of their own creation. Nicholas has been the recipient of numerous awards as well as inclusion in PDN's "30 in 2011."