Sunday, June 10, 2007

Santa Fe County, New Mexico 2002

I get ask all the time why I like driving across the country from one coast to the other. My flip answer is about the difficulity of making images of the land from 35,000 feet out of an airliner's window. While there's truth in that flip answer, the more probable answer is the call of the open road, and the wonderful privilege of not having to drive on Interstate Highways. One of my mentors, Oliver Gagliani, once said there were no images to be made if you are driving faster than 30 mph. How true. You're not going to see anything whizzing along at 70-75 mph with the radio turn-up to a high volume to drown out the road noises. Besides at highway speeds, it should take most of your attention to keep from getting killed by convoying 18-wheelers. Ain't no time to be looking for images. And I do want to see what's along America's roadsides. I want to know the lay of the land, and how the land intersects with people's lives. I want to see the evidence of people's interaction with the land. For me, it has always been a process of seeing something and then accquiring new knowledge through the act of making an image.....from seen to known. And there is one other thing that calls me to the open road. Driving slowly along the backroads allows me the time to put myself into the mind-set necessary for making image. I find it extremely difficult to sit on an airplane for 6-7 hours and be plopped down in a totally new environment for the purpose of making image. Even if I drive, it'll take several days for me to start making image connections. It takes even longer if I fly somewhere. The point of all this is that I'm off in a couple of days to drive all the way to California and back, and I'm planning on taking at least six weeks to do it. The only Interstate driving I'll do is between here and my first night which will get me away from the east coast area and into the mountains of mid-Pennsylvania. From then on, I'll stick to the "blue highways" and only hit the Interstates when looking for lodging each evening -- all the motels are flocked where secondary roads cross the Interstates. I plan on keeping the blog active on a daily basis -- depends if where I rest my head that evening has a wireless connection. Almost all the major chain motels offer internet connections these day. Onward. Stay tuned.

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