Roadside America: Uninterestingly Interesting
It’s no secret that I love everything that has to do with an all American road trip: Motels, endless roads, hours of being sweaty in the car and eating in roadside diners. I just love it. I also love photographing mundaneness. The most unexciting things and scenes are interesting to capture on photo. I’ll photograph anything if it triggers an emotion and roadside America does just that.
My interest in photographing roadside America comes from looking at the work of Joel Sternfeld and Walker Evans. I’ve spent hours on the web browsing through their images. That feeling of just looking at a window on the American daily life and roadside is incredibly fascinating for me.
It’s a difficult feeling to describe. It’s about just going from one place to another and being part of that roadside America. It’s experiencing what it is to travel and explore without knowing what’s around the corner. A road trip in America also doesn’t need a goal. Usually, even things like the Grand Canyon or visiting New Orleans are not photographic highlights for me.
Photographing dull motels and weird roadside attractions, that’s what an American road trip is all about. Deciding that you’re hungry all of a sudden and just pulling over at the first fast food restaurant you see. It’s not about looking for things to photograph but more about stumbling upon interesting scenes. Serendipity, anyone?
An American road trip for me is the essence of photography because photography is not the essence. Does that even make sense?
The thing is, I’ve been on road trips in Europe and even Australia but it’s never the same. There’s just something about a road trip in the United States and documenting it with a camera. So I’ll just say it: The ultimate road trip is an American road trip.
Related Read • Behind The Redwood Curtain
Even though there are lots of nice tourist attractions, try not to make your road trip about them. Give yourself a chance to explore beyond. Don’t expect anything and just let yourself be guided by the never-ending roads and wide landscapes. The photographs will find you along the way.
I’d love to see your road trip photos… send me a link or tell me about it in the comments…