Summer is quickly approaching and my mind starts to think about the next road trip. I have to say that the art of the American road trip seems to be a thing of the past. I remember riding in the back of the station wagon or going on some cross country adventure that my parents had come up with that meant my three siblings and I would be subjected to long hours of self entertainment. There weren’t any iPads or iPhones, just the four of us coming up with games to pass the time. We also had plenty of time to just watch the scenery go by and observe the remarkable American landscape. At the time we would complain but now I look back and those road trips were one of my fondest memories.
We built memories between us that we now share and laugh about. Like my brothers collecting bottle caps from every gas station soda machine we stopped at to win a car back at home. They had thousands of caps and were sure that they had won that shiny sports car but alas a gentleman who worked at Pepsi won. Grrr! They have rules about that now.
I learned that being still and observing fed all kinds of creativity. Observing the vast landscapes allowed my mind to wander and I would see things in those open plaines. Connections that I hadn’t necessarily thought of before and it seemed that the more I saw the more connections were made. I was hooked on the meditative nature of these trips and I try every year to take these cross country travels with my own kids.
I came across an article the other day about a fellow road trip enthusiast. Victoria Sambunaris is a photographer who has been recording the great American landscape and has recently released her book Taxonomy of a Landcape. All of the images that you will see on this post are hers. Each year, for the last 13 years, Victoria Sambunaris has set out from her home in New York to cross the United States by car, alone with her camera. Her photographs capture the expansive American landscape and the man-made and natural adaptations that intersect it.
Born in 1964, Sambunaris graduated from the Yale University MFA program in 1999. Her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe.
In her words about this last journey that led to the making of this book. ” My first journey began on the Texas border in 2000 and ended on the Texas border in December 2013. Everything comes full circle! But through the experiences you gain over time, perceptions change and you begin to see the world through different filters. When returning to a place over and over, there is a new discovery and that keeps me coming back.”
Leaving Seattle and heading East I can expect to see the dense forests of the Northwest give way to the wide expanses of rolling hills and wheat crops of the central part of our state. The striking contrast of these two regions of our state surprises me every time I pass through it so I fully understand what Victoria is saying. Every time I pass through it I have changed as well and so this journey though so familiar is always new.
I can’t wait to get on the road and observe the vast beauty of the landscapes we pass through. To let my mind wander and dream and connect the dots of that which was unseen before.
Images courtesy of http://www.mocp.org ,http://www.lannan.org, http://victoriasambunaris.tumblr.com
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