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San Francisco Bay Area-based photographer Max Gavrich documents the changing Northern California landscape in his series, “Fat City Journal.” After moving home to the Central Valley in 2018 to be with his sick grandmother, Gavrich turned his attention to the shifting economic and infrastructural dynamics of his surroundings.
Continuously moving along the Central Valley corridor throughout her adult life, his grandmother, Maia, eventually landed in Manteca, just south of Stockton. Known for having some of the worst air pollution in the country, the breadbasket of California has a phenomenon known as “Valley Fever,” linked to the use of pesticides and other industrial agricultural chemicals. His grandparents’ new home in Manteca had recently been completed when his grandmother fell sick with a host of autoimmune diseases, and Gavrich became interested in “the dissonance between unchecked development and its effects on the natural world and our fragile human bodies.”
“Upon seeing these pictures, a friend remarked that they were not simply about loss but about romance—an effort to reconcile the sublime,” he explains. “For me, this work has been about contending with the death of Maia, our family matriarch, and my kinship to California, the land, and the people.”
See more from “Fat City Journal” below!