Friday, July 2, 2010

The Road

Robert Frank, Still from Me and My Brother, 1965-1968

Although Cormac McCarthy's The Road is one of my favorite novels, that is not what this post is about. It's that time of year again where I have finished another Rebecca Solnit book and feel inspired enough to share a passage and the photographs it made me think of while reading it.

Todd Hido, #3277, 1994-2004

This is from the last chapter in Savage Dreams: "Of all the cardinal sins against the environment, driving long distance is the most seductive, the one that brings us back to otherwise inaccessible places, whatever the terms. I love long drives alone. The road is a place itself, or a border between places, a long narrow country without citizens whose only inhabitants are transients and strangers, a great suspended interval of privacy and peace between departure and arrival. And the road is a net dropped over the vastness of the continent, tying together all its distances into one navigable labyrinth of asphalt..."

Len Jenshel, Great Basin National Park, Nevada, 1987

"...Roads are the architecture of our restlessness, of those who wish neither to stay in their built places nor wander in the untouched ones, but to keep moving between them. A road promises something else to us, though the promise is better fulfilled by travelling than by arriving..."

Florian Maier-Aichen, Chamonix-Rue Nationale et le Mont Blanc, 2007

"...A road is itself a kind of sentence, or a story. A real place, it's also a metaphor for time, for future becoming present and then past, for passage. A road that travels over hills is a long sequence of geometrical variations that describes the landscape as it runs through, of s- and c-curves, rises and dips, bends, disappearances, distant reemergings, of a perpetual serpentine writhing in response to the contours that came before."

Danny Lyon, 1962

"In our heads and on maps, a road is a line drawn through the landscape, but from the road itself its foreground appears as a kind of V eternally opening up to wrap around us as we plunge onward, a great crawling king snake devouring us into the world beyond." RS

Richard Misrach, Tracks, Black Rock Desert, NV 1987

After a five hour drive on a windy, narrow road alongside sheer cliffs back to the provincial capital, a seasick inducing ferry ride over the Strait of Juan de Fuca, an hour and a half in the car to stop along a closed bridge near midnight waiting for the maintenance repairs to subside, another ferry across the Puget Sound/Salish Sea, ten hours looking at the roads below from the air above (and a forest fire in Eastern Oregon), and an hour and a half drive in the dark hoping the deer I didn't see on Vancouver Island would stay away from the road that night... I am at the place where my cats live (and they are happy to see me).

Vik Muniz, Historical Photo, 1989

Vancouver Island was my summer vacation - a place without stress, my I-phone, pollution, tons of people, and unfortunately visible wildlife. After I finish these treks across the Lower 48, Alaska and the rest of Canada are calling. It really is time I make my own earthwork.

Stephen Shore, Presidio, Texas, 1975

The next Solnit book on the horizon is Wanderlust: A History of Walking because (believe it or not), this blog will return to earthworks and walking will play a large role.

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