There is a certain excitement and romanticism about the open road. Lying out in front of the traveler with as many possibilities of destinations as there are exits to choose. My inspiration for The American Road Trip: Images and Stories from the Exits Less Traveled are my childhood memories of family road trips. That quinicential shared American experience made possible by years of progress. Motorists exiting the interstate to wander the backroads, stopping at historic markers, road-side stands, and tourist traps.
This project is a contemporary documentary of the communities, buildings, and people that find their paths crossing within a few miles of Florida’s historic interstate, I-4. It’s difficult to describe the cultural landscape of Florida. One of the southernmost states in the country, but not considered part of the south. Florida’s identity can be encapsulated it what has been referred to as the I-4 corridor. A geographical area of undecided voters, snowbirds, hurricanes, and Mickey Mouse.
As a Florida native, I was surprised how these images would come to reveal my relationship with a place I’d known my entire life, strengthen my understanding of its history, people, and ever-changing landscape. The work has been produced over the course of the last eight years. The current exhibition, Exits Less Traveled, contains over 30 pieces printed with pigmented archival inks.
I would like to complete this project by incorporating oral histories. These stories would be framed with the print and become the memory keeper for a space in time that currently spans from Tampa to Daytona Beach. The work with oral histories will bring the stories and images of the exits less traveled to a wider audience. Exhibiting in both traditional and non-traditional gallery spaces and making the work available for viewing online. To redefine community to be those who live, love, and visit even if it is just to wander the backroads.