Responding to Ed

To bring us into Module 3 : Surfaces and Strategies at Falmouth University MA in Photography we created a personal project

route 66 – link to view.

I was inspired by the photobooks and other publications of Ed Ruscha.  His most notable was obviously 26 Gasoline Stations (1963).

It was a ‘road movie’ type of photobook, stills that recoded his many east west and west east car journeys; his car drinking away the fuel via these staging posts that were emblematic of the oil and tarmac that enabled the freedom to roam.  The simple style was consistent in its distance from camera to object/scene and the printed pages were awash with white space.  I recall reading ‘On the Road’ not so long ago and note that Kerouac was a contemporary of Ruscha.

My response was a personal one.  I had driven Route 66 solo in 2013 and the numerous images I had made were simply stacked into a folder on my server.  Few people if any had been seen my anyone other than myself.  I took the opportunity to distil the most appropriate images and place them onto the pages to reflect a day’s drive per page.  Not only does this emulate the wide use of white space, but most probably captures the same gas stations as Ruscha, certainly in the latter, western end of the route.

I was pleased with the tonal changes of the images that emerge from the edit which evolve from the steel of Chicago through to the open spaces, bareness of land through to the dramatic skies over the Grand Canyon on to the beach of LA and the Getty museum as the route’s terminus.

I have printed this out on a simple office photocopier at A3 as a thin, easy thumbed photobook.  The front cover differs from a direct copy of the Ruscha typology as I am applying a misspelt humour, making use of the Phillips 66 logo that is prevalent along the route which, for obvious reasons, I appreciated.


Ruscha E (1969Twentysix Gasoline Stations 1963, 3rd edition
Los Angeles

Kerouac J. On the Road. Viking. 1957



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