The idea for Retracing America is something I’ve been mulling around for quite some time, and I quickly came to the conclusion that there’s not going to be any better time to do it than the present.
The project will be an epic American journey inspired by a photographer named Robert Frank, who made nearly the same trip over 60 years ago. His vision: to capture America in a living moment, just as it was, and to photograph what truly makes America American. Frank photographed the everyday lives of the American people, and his refusal to shy away from subjects like racism, religion, and suburban life was part of what made his work truly revolutionary in its time. He put these photographs into a book titled The Americans.
More than a half a century later, this collection of photographs forever preserves the visual ideas of our nation during that era. It stands as history for anyone to see. That’s part of why I believe there is power and value to street photography; It’s like holding up a mirror to society. These photographs are the reflection of what was happening at a unique moment in time, and they’re also segues to bigger ideas which are sometimes easier to ignore.
There is no doubt that America has changed in the past 60 years. I'd like to follow in Frank’s footsteps and retrace his journey around America as a project of my own. My goal is not to recreate Robert Frank’s work, but to acknowledge the historic importance of his original journey and use it as an inspiration to share the way that I see America.
When Frank went on the road in 1955-56 there were no interstates; it was just the original National Highway System. Part of the project is also studying the roads that were once traveled by Frank, many of which have practically been forgotten due to the interstate system. I want to capture what those areas look like now, and the people who live there.
This Autumn, I will head out on an epic road trip to more than 90 stops throughout America. Some are big cities, some are tiny specks barely even noticeable on a map, but all are important.
During this three month road trip I’ll be photographing as much as possible: the people, the buildings, the traffic, the simple, the complex and all the things in-between, all the things that make up life in America.
The funding from this kickstarter will go toward:
- basic supplies
- lodging expenses
- general travel expenses
- the cost of creating the book
- kickstarter swag/incentives
How can you get involved? You're in the right place! We've listed some ways for you to be a part of the experience via the incentives!
If you are unable to give financially but still want to help, you can always post this project to social media. A like on facebook or tweet on twitter can mean a lot more than you might think. Spreading the word in person is always a possibility, too.
I invite you to follow along with me, lets see things differently, live outside the box, and let's retrace America.
Below is a visual breakdown of each reward level. For details, please consult the list to the right. If you have any questions, feel free to send a message.
If you'd like to add an item that isn't available in your backer level, simply select your level and add the extra amount to your total. Once the project is funded, we'll send out surveys to work through all of the details. Add as many as you like!
Risks and challenges
Anytime you set out on a large project they're always potential risks involved. What if I get lost? What if the car breaks down? What if I run into bad weather or, worst of all, lose internet?
I'm fully aware that things don't always go exactly as planned, but I'm maybe even more aware that the unexpected bumps are sometimes what make the best adventures.
I believe in always having a plan B, and sometimes plans C and D too. I'll continuously be preparing for the worst, but expecting the best. Almost every element of the project has some level of flexibility, and adaptability is a paramount component of every plan made.
So what if the car does breakdown?
Well, we've allotted money to have it repaired, and I'm lucky enough to have country-wide roadside assistance and other programs on my side.
What if there's bad weather?
I've allotted extra time to wait it out. The project schedule will, in a some instances, be a bit of a moving target with a certain amount flexibility.
What if the wifi goes down?
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