Cross - Country Moving Trip

(NYC, CA, 2003)

 
 

Immediately after finishing my three years Master degree in NYC, I moved to California, crossing the south of the US coast to coast (from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean). Driving a rented car, with my few belongings tied on its top, and with very few (4 or 5) rolls of slide positive film used in my 35mm Contax with a fix wide-angle 28mm Carl Zeiss lens. During this trip, which lasted 4 days, I drove across several states of the US, like New York, Virginia, Tennessee. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

I shot some single images in different stops I made during the trip, during which I slept at cheap hotels near the highway at night, and traveled, towards the West during the day. The lack of positive film, as well as the excessively short duration of the trip, originated a somewhat disperse group of images, mostly landscapes with no other specific subject matter that the highway trip itself.

This series of pictures is an homage to two great artists: Robert Frank, amazing Swiss photographer who crossed the US during two years of traveling in the US (1957-1958), after the Second World War, creating as a consequence the great book –and probably the most important one in the American modern photographic history- called “The Americans” which, by the way, was prologued by nobody but Jack Kerouac –the second artist who is homaged in this little body of work- who wrote the genius and famous book called “On the Road”, that tells extraordinary “Beatnik style” –a group of controversial writers of the time, like Kerouac himself, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg- about trips on the never-ending highways that cross the U.S.

At last, bur not least, this tiny body of work constituted a small compilation of images that have been mostly influenced by the amazing work of William Eggleston, who “converted” color photography into a fine art by shooting the amazing light and colors of the South of the U.S., especially in his hometown, Memphis (Tennessee).

Finally, we could say tjat this little body of work is constituted by a compilation of images which have been influenced by the extraordinary work of William Eggleston, who since the late 60´s transformed color photography into an art form by catching the amazing light an the exquisite colors of the American South, where he was born and where he grew up. We are talking particularly about his hometown, Memphis (Tennessee) where some of the pictures of this series where shot. The same happens in the place where he spent most of his childhood and his teens: the state of Mississippi. Eggleston began experimenting with color photography in 1965, always using positive film, which became his main medium. So it is not in vain that all of the pictures in this body of work where also shots as color slides.

Santiago Bustamante