America, From the Edge — Photographs by David Best, Mike Dickau, Sandrine Hermand-Grisel, and Toni Voelker

America, from the Edge features four unique perspectives on American life and landscape by photographers David Best, Mike Dikau, Sandrine Hermand-Grisel and Toni Voelker. Their works run the gamut from noir to bizarre and from Barbie dolls to the Midas Mufflerman.


David Best of Lodi documents the “foreign” events of bikini shoots, gay parades, and Muscle Beach competitions. “Photography provides me the opportunity to participate, in my own way, in many activities I would otherwise be too shy to experience. I feel hidden behind my large panorama camera, almost as if I am playing the part of ‘photographer’. Most people see me and think, ‘Oh, there’s a photographer from the paper,’ so that even though I have no more right to be there than anyone else, my ostentatious camera equipment somehow gives me permission to go where I want to and take the pictures I want to take. Ultimately, I photograph what I like. I like odd. I like strange. I like hokey and patriotic and fringe lunatic and even stuff that scares me a little bit. I’ve been to many biker events, with Harley dudes all dressed up in leather and tattoos and piercings and who look really, really scary. I’ll go up to them to take a picture, and as often as not they’ll pose for me, or do what I ask, or do some other small act of kindness to accommodate me. I find that in general if I’m polite, and don’t try to steal pictures, then 99.9% of all people are very generous and helpful and obliging and actually seem to enjoy participating in my little photographic adventure.”


Muscle Beach Venice


Doodah Pompom



Mike Dikau purchased his first 35mm camera in 1978 to take photographs of his art and soon became interested in photography as an art form. When he purchased a computer, he became interested in editing and printing photographs for different purposes. “I use a variety of film as well as digital cameras to produce my photographs. My photocollages include frames from movies, filmstrips, video captures, scanned drawings, paintings, objects, and photocopier prints. My life as an underground artist has been pure joy. I have participated in the Mail Art world since the mid-’80s. It has allowed me to develop concepts, network with artists all over the world, and to develop new communication skills as technology progresses. Ideally, this world is democratic, collaborative, devoid of commercialism, and pro-creativity. My subject matter has largely been autobiographical and all over the map. Decades of looking through microscopes, telescopes, and cameras has given me a particular set of visual predilections. Editing video, copier art, photographs, and sound files has given me a way to deal with my interests, inner life, and reality.


American Doll

Four Frozen Treats (Santa Cruz, California Boardwalk)

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man



Sandrine Hermand-Grisel photographs from the vantage point of an emigrant of her native France, producing dark images of the American West that look like they were printed on old dirty stucco walls. “I am not a tourist, nor a total stranger, nor totally at home… 50 states… 3.79 million square miles to travel all over to discover it all. In other words an impossible task! I decided to choose a glimpse of it… here or there… to proceed by strokes... by sensations… here or there… by impressions… Los Angeles will remain for me a huge amusement park ride in the shape of a giant bean… Death Valley: ravens dancing on a dried tree… Las Vegas: a few palm trees lost in front of an immaculate blue sky… Unusual, timeless, irrational, my memories of America are not what we expect, not like others… my images are an elusive vision of a country without limits…Somewhere is my American testimonial… my testimonial from here, nowhere and elsewhere.”


Somewhere in Seattle, Washington


Somewhere in Cortez, Colorado

Somewhere in Flagstaff, Arizona



Toni Voelker says of his pictures showing the results of his daughter’s “relationship” with Barbie dolls: “Barbie is a universally recognized image of the archetypical female figure upon which girls often project their idealized selves. However, sometimes the process is inverted and mysterious forces transport Barbie into alternative universes. You might be disturbed by some of these images and wonder about the sanity of their creator. However, what you see is not the product of a twisted mind, but merely ‘The Remains of the Play’. This series is a documentary of the imaginative and resourceful play of my daughter, Heidi. While she was growing up, instead of entering the prefabricated environment of Barbie, Heidi pulled the doll into her own fantasy world. She outfitted Barbie using a wide range of materials found in our house and garden (resulting in sometimes startling costumes) and placed her in unusual situations and locations. After simply voyeuristically enjoying such scenes for a while, I finally started secretly photographing the remains ‘on location’. Sometimes Barbie had been lost for many months in the garden, weathered and forgotten amongst the accumulated organic litter only to be discovered by chance. Ultimately, Heidi finished her Barbie phase and gave all of her Barbies to charity, the natural closure of this series.”


On the Lilypad

Barbie's Perm

Bed of Pens



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Viewpoint Photographic Art Center is the proud recipient of a SMAC Cultural Arts Award grant.

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