Shane Lavalette’s New Monuments takes the idea of conservation—and the human desire to preserve—as its main subject. The project was made possible thanks to The American Academy in Rome, who hosted Lavalette as a visiting artist in 2015. Rome was the perfect place to explore this idea, as Lavalette was able to photograph this in a literal sense through the observation of restoration of artwork and buildings, the documentation of architecture and art, and by spending time in historical collections studying slides and photographic objects. Various significant landmarks were serendipitously undergoing restoration at the time of his visit. While working in this way, Lavalette simultaneously considered the notion of preservation more abstractly, turning his camera lens on people of the city and its nature, looking for smaller ‘monuments’ in the form of everyday details and still lifes that, in contrast to the clinical studies, are rooted in emotion.
Shane Lavalette is an American photographer, independent publisher, and the director of Light Work, a non-profit photography organization in Syracuse, New York. He holds a BFA from Tufts University in partnership with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Lavalette’s photographs have been shown widely, including exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Aperture Foundation, Montserrat College of Art, The Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Kaunas Gallery, Le Château d’Eau, Fotostiftung Schweiz, Musée de l’Elysée, and Robert Morat Galerie, in addition to being held in private and public collections. Lavalette is the author of four monographs: One Sun, One Shadow (Lavalette, 2016), Still (Noon) (Edition Patrick Frey, 2018), LOST, Syracuse (Kris Graves Projects, 2019), and New Monuments (Libraryman, 2019). One Sun One Shadow was selected as one of the “Best Books” by photo-eye, nominated for the Kassel Photobook Award 2017, and shortlisted for the Author Book Award 2017 at Les Rencontres d’Arles. Lavalette’s work has been featured by The New York Times, TIME, NPR, CNN, The Telegraph, Foam Magazine, Hotshoe, among others, and his editorial work has accompanied stories in various publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Topic, Esquire, Bloomberg Businessweek, Curbed, Vice Magazine, The Wire, Wallpaper, Monocle, and The Guardian. Lavalette is represented by Robert Morat Galerie in Berlin and We Folk agency in London/New York.