Yesterday afternoon I made an impromptu trip up the road to the rt museum to check out their current photography exhibit The Open Road. The show is a collection of works from about 20 photographers, all with the common theme of “the American road trip.”
As I meandered through the galleries looking at the photographs I kept thinking, wow, I think my dad would enjoy this. He loves road trips!
The photographers were all new names to me, as I’m not a really up to date with the great photographer artists of the times, sadly, and such. I should figure out how to get more spare time into my life to be able to build my knowledge base on these matters. Back in college, we never seemed to delved too deeply into to photography, for some reason.
So, I was a sponge, soaking up as much of the images and the short captions and stories that went with each piece or photographer. The photos capture scenes along the American roadways and town from around the 1960s to recent years.
I walked around with my sketchbook, jotting down impressions and some quotes from the different photographers. It was also pretty cool to see places as they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. That the United States Interstate Highway system was formed as ‘recently’ as 1956 (60 years? not very long ago) is kind of hard to believe – I can’t really imagine life without cars or highways. (I guess that’s what our kids think about the information superhighway?)
One of the photographers, William Eggleston, photographed with color when color photos was considered revolutionary when it came to “art photographs” – color photography in the 19602-70s was mostly associated with advertising and design photography. He is quoted, “I am at war with the obvious.”
Another photographer also impressed me, Robert Frank. He was born in Switzerland and traveled across the United States in the 1950s. He published a book with the photographs, The American’s, 1959. His photos are said to be the visual equivalent of the jazz music that was popular at the time, maybe because they depicted or captured a sense of unfiltered emotion? His photos that are in the exhibit do invite thought and contemplation. Here is a recent story on Robert Frank: “The Man Who Saw America.”
Some of the more contemporary photographers incorporated digital elements. And then there was Stephen Shore who was quite active in the 1970s, and now also shares shots on his Instagram.
I also just loved the idea of the Open Road theme. The road trip. I love roadtrips too, an of course, I take lots of photos when I travel.
There was one gallery showing snippets from a collection of road trip themes movies.
And of course, the road trip soundtrack. The museum curated a road trip Spotify playlist. What else would you add to a road trip playlist?