On December 22, 2013, the world-famous Hollywood Park Race Track closed its doors forever. In 2014, demolition began on the landmark race track, effectively erasing seventy-five years of history, while at the same time making space for an entire new neighborhood to suddenly arise in the middle of the metropolis. Photographer Michele Asselin spent every day at Hollywood Park in the last two weeks before it closed, photographing the buildings, the employees, and the patrons of the track. Clubhouse Turn: The Twilight of Hollywood Park Race Track is the product of her efforts, and the story of two cultures colliding in the middle of a rapidly evolving city.
Asselin’s celebrated photographs depict a world that has been completely erased but not forgotten. Each intimate portrait shows a unique and personal side of the track, from the jockeys to the gamblers to the security guards at the gate. Her landscape photography feels no less human; a discarded receipt or a string of Christmas lights conjures the ghosts of Hollywood Park, absorbing the reader in the dual pulls of presence and absence, loss and gain, nostalgia for what’s gone and the thrill of what’s to come.
In addition to Asselin’s lush photographs, Clubhouse Turn features essays by MacArthur fellow John Kun and Grammy-winning writer Lynell George exploring what it means to love a city that’s always in motion. A building can have a historic landmark, but what about a culture, a community—a way of life? Clubhouse Turn is more than a book of photography and more than a book about a race track: it’s a book about who we are when we live in a city—the faces that we never see until we look, the places we forget until they’re gone.
Michele Asselin is a photographer who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work explores the impact of social constructs on human experience. Early in her career, she worked for the Associated Press in the Middle East while living in Jerusalem. Back in the US, she worked as an editorial photographer, creating memorable portraits of the people of our time. Her work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, Esquire, Fortune and New York Magazine. Asselin has been an artist-in-residence for the National Domestic Workers Alliance and has collaborated on projects with social organizations, Street to Home in New York City and The Institute For Facial Paralysis in Los Angeles. In 2017 Asselin’s work was included in the Orange County Museum of Art Pacific Triennial: Building as Ever. Since, she has completed public art commissions in Los Angeles for LA Metro and in Washington D.C. for 4th Wall’s Coordinates project.