Hotel California, a great song by the Eagles, was playing at one point in the background while the interview with Stephen Swartz was conducted at the Café Domizil in Altenburg, Germany. The song is about California, Los Angeles specifically. In the mid-70s, LA was full of high expectations and promises, and thousands of people migrated there in droves in search of warm sun, wealth, money and fame – expectations that ultimately went unfulfilled. They found the dream to be a mirage. After the band’s success, money, excessive partying and drug use took its toll, they found they had become “prisoners of their own device.” Granted, this song is ultimately about the decadence, excess, wealth and self-destruction of the southern California culture in the 70s. Today is not the 70s and Stephen Swartz is not from California but from Columbus, Ohio. But he also migrated. Not to California but to Altenburg in Germany and so this interview offers a perspective of someone that knows both, the old and the new world, and at the same time provides great insights into Stephen’s attitude and approaches as an artist that focuses not exclusively but mainly on photography. Please access the full interview here.
Some of the works of Stephen Swartz can be accessed at: www.stephenswartz.com
Credit goes to Melissa Visintin who did the transcript and for noticing Hotel California and thus providing the plot for this post.