Road tripping on Route 66
It’s always been something of a rite of passage for American photographers to travel across the country with a Leica and see if they can’t stir up a little magic that Robert Frank or Walker Evans may have missed. In February 2013, I took my turn at the wheel and set out from Chicago with my wife, two year-old son, our nervous Brittany Spaniel, and of course, my trusty and beloved Leica M9. For two weeks, we followed what remains of Route 66, “The Mother Road” of America.
Our goal was to get all the way to Santa Monica Pier without taking any highways unless absolutely necessary. We meandered and wandered, taking in a seemingly endless tableau of abandoned service stations, run down motels, small town Main Streets clinging to life, and magnificent natural beauty.
On the 10th anniversary of our trip, I dug in to the archive and completely re-edited this body of work. I saw the remnants of a vanishing culture against an almost unfathomable vastness of landscape. It felt as though the four of us had been traveling through time, witnessing the rise and fall of some half-baked American dream. Like the multitudes of travelers before us, we had been pushing west toward something abstract; an idea of freedom or discovery, understanding or insight. Toward something that could be glimpsed but never fully grasped; a borrowed horizon.