Saturday, May 21, 2011

Road Trip: NYC-Niagara Falls-West Virginia-Nashville-Kansas.

US56, KS
The road to Dodge

Truck Stop
Along I-70 East (Truck Stop)

Groom, TX
Groom, TX

Ottawa, KS
Ottawa, KS

I 35
I-35 East

Road to Rolla, MO

Ottawa, KS
Ottawa, KS

Monument Valley, AZ
Road to Monument Valley, AZ

Next week I will be meeting my Mother and Brother in New York City. I haven't seen my family for over three years and I am looking forward to it very much. After flying to NYC we will spend some time exploring the city and then rent a car in Manhattan (booked here) and drive it back to Kansas after first taking a northern detour to visit Niagara Falls, a place I have always wanted to see, but until now, not had the chance. My Mother has never before visited the U.S. and I can think of no better way of giving her a flavor of it's massive scale and geographic diversity than taking a road trip by car.

From Niagara we intend to head directly south through Pennsylvania, making various stops along the way and then traveling the length of West Virgina (weaving the 'Red Roads' which will be the title of a future photo series). West Virginia is one of the poorest and most beautiful States in the union, I hear, and I have longed to see and explore it. We will then begin heading west into Kentucky to the small town of Middlesbough, a destination chosen by my mother because it shares the name of the northern England City she was born and raised in. From there we will travel south to Nashville before making the last leg of our journey back home to Kansas City. There will, I'm sure be a lot of meandering along the way too and a lot of photography stops, which will I'm positive will be a powerful test of my wife Jenny and my family's patience. It will be a journey of approximately 2400 miles, a distance which anyone from England will find incomprehensibly huge.

The preparations and time leading up to a road trip, for me, is one which is always filled with both apprehension and excitement. It is a time when my confidence photographically is at it's most vulnerable and it forces me to put every previous image I've made under great scrutiny making me ask, what is it that I am ultimately doing here? I try to pre-visualize the trip and plan the work I will make and the things I will see. Experience though, has told me, again and again, this is an impossible thing to do and I know that any road trip should be embarked upon without expectation of any kind, with the exception of faith and trust. I am acutely aware that I am about to enter the unknown where reality will present itself along with all it's myth and legend, in ways I cannot yet imagine, with whatever photographic projects and ideas I have in mind. It's a beautiful, exciting and pure experience, close to that of a meditation where the present will be continuously unwrapped from moment to moment. America by car with little more than my companions, a map, camera, note book and those dreams.

Gas Station, MO
Gas Station, MO (I-70)


  1. Simon, I'm sure you'll do fine. Remember to 'give a little up' regarding your photography to keep family members from tying you up and putting you in the back seat. (humour)

    Looking forward to your interpretation of the USA.

  2. Those places are so beautiful. You must have a great trip. I like visit such places. niagara falls