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Author Topic: The American Roadtrip  (Read 417 times)

opgr

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The American Roadtrip
« on: February 09, 2018, 10:34:17 AM »

The presenter tells us that, what you find apparently if you do a classic american roadtrip, is yourself. I like this tv show, since it covers a lot of photography exhibitions, but in hindsight I don't know if he's taking a bit of a piss. It's dutch and probably won't even play outside NL without anonymising proxies and what not, but for good measure here's a link to the show:
https://www.avrotros.nl/kunstuur/video/broadcast/kunstuur-noord-korea-vs-noord-amerika-04-02-2018/

This episode deals with photographer Eddo Hartman whom has been granted access to North Korea for a reportage. He figured the importance was such that he included film and even 360degr video formats.
http://eddohartmann.nl

Equally interesting and possibly more impactful is however Robin de Puy's roadtrip. A trully epic old-skool american roadtrip where she decided to up the cool-factor and travel by Harley Davidson through the US without setting a destination. Objective was to photograph random portraits:
http://www.robindepuy.nl/diary/2017

One random encounter she meets a slightly retarded boy named Randy, and during the rest of her roadtrip the idea emerges to do an entire series on him. (scroll down on the link above). While she manages to depict a beautiful portrait through her pictures, I don't specifically care for the genre, if you can call it that. For her (and probably for others as well) it becomes an endearing portrait of a simple mind, an ignorant mind that knows little social barriers, and as such is an easy target for some kind of awkward openness that may or may not be present in all of us if you peel away the social layers.

I don't care much for such reportage, since it tells us exactly nothing about growth or perseverance relevant for our own understanding. We already know about social inhibitions. We don't need to expose a young person with little understanding of the concepts and impact to present us with a mirror. The kid is 16 years old, with the mind of a 12 year old. Between being mentally 12 years of age, and growing up to become physically 70 years of age, there is an entire path of life that offers little room for such a person when his parents or next of kin are no longer able to sustain his being. The kid's ignorance may be endearing, but our ignorance in recognising the potential consequences is not. And this portrait doesn't seem to include that confrontation.

With that in the back of our mind, the photographer did however manage to capture an impactful and beautiful portraiture perhaps exactly because of the approach "without prejudice". Remains the question though, what the presenter actually meant with his remark about finding ourselves on the american roadtrip?


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Regards,
Oscar

Rob C

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 11:10:51 AM »

There's a small problem re. the US trip: Avedon did it already in the West...

But hey, if she seeks to transition from fashion to art, then she's got to do something. Were I she, I would milk the fashion for all it's worth and then, when she has outlived her usefulness, she can become an "artist" and go from there. Unless you are terribly famous I think it must be difficult to run parallel lives like that.

As with all youth, it is very easy to take oneself too seriously - or not seriously enough. Who said life was going to be easy?

Rob
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 05:53:28 AM by Rob C »
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Telecaster

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 03:04:26 PM »

I don't care much for such reportage, since it tells us exactly nothing about growth or perseverance relevant for our own understanding. We already know about social inhibitions. We don't need to expose a young person with little understanding of the concepts and impact to present us with a mirror. The kid is 16 years old, with the mind of a 12 year old. Between being mentally 12 years of age, and growing up to become physically 70 years of age, there is an entire path of life that offers little room for such a person when his parents or next of kin are no longer able to sustain his being. The kid's ignorance may be endearing, but our ignorance in recognising the potential consequences is not. And this portrait doesn't seem to include that confrontation.

Given that homo sapiens contains many examples of septuagenarians (and octogenarians) with the cognitive/emotional maturity of typical 8-year-olds, maybe this project has greater relevance than it initially seems.

-Dave-
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RSL

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 03:22:48 PM »

The ultimate "road trip" was the one made by Robert Frank, and the result was The Americans!

Rob C

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 05:52:20 AM »

Given that homo sapiens contains many examples of septuagenarians (and octogenarians) with the cognitive/emotional maturity of typical 8-year-olds, maybe this project has greater relevance than it initially seems.

-Dave-

Take care, David: this is dangerously close to a political observation/statement, and I would not like to see Oscar's thread locked! Truth is no saviour, as has been shown time after time around the world.

Perhaps one might find meat in a debate about the differences between political observation and statement...

;-)

Two23

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2018, 10:47:33 AM »

I will watch the video later this weekend as I generally do a small ~400 mile (650 km) road trip myself on Saturday. :)  I head out along the railroad tracks and venture far on the Northern Plains.  When we retire, my wife and I plan to buy a small RV van and just drift around the Central Plains from Texas to the tundra for a month at a time and see what we find.  It's a very overlooked area.  As for photo'ing those who are cognitively impaired, I think it's OK as long as it's not done to exploit and the subject is treated respectfully.  As an occupational therapist I once briefly worked with this population and found them very trusting.  In the more or less "small town" culture I live in such people are cared for by their extended family after their parents are gone.


Kent in SD
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Peter McLennan

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 12:33:54 PM »

Road trips are a uniquely North American privilege.  Enjoy 'em while you can.



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Rob C

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2018, 01:03:15 PM »

Road trips are a uniquely North American privilege.  Enjoy 'em while you can.




Hold those horses! Are you forgetting Europe? Even Brits can still go wherever they like in their car... enjoy while still possible without complications. My best memories of driving were our regular Spain/Scotland/Spain trips which took us through France on different routes that not only engaged the eye but were a gift to the tummy! Never eat as much cheese and as many snails in my life, which probably accounted for the later heart adventures.

When that tardy lottery bonanza turns up, I shall, God willing, do my swan song along the canals with those two little Ms after which I sometimes lust. Why not? I've been wherever else I wanted to go - thanks to the business of photography.

:-)

Peter McLennan

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 02:29:33 PM »

Hold those horses! Are you forgetting Europe?

Not even close.  8) 

Drive a day in GB and you're in the ocean.  Drive a day in Europe and you've traversed a zillion villages.  I'm talking ROAD trip.



North Americans think a hundred years is a long time.
Europeans think a hundred miles is a long way.
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Rob C

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 05:18:45 PM »

Not even close.  8) 

Drive a day in GB and you're in the ocean.  Drive a day in Europe and you've traversed a zillion villages.  I'm talking ROAD trip.



North Americans think a hundred years is a long time.
Europeans think a hundred miles is a long way.

Last time I drove a day in the UK it took me from 07.30 to 20.00 to get from Perth to Hemel Hempstead; the year before, the same trip got me into a bedroom in Calais. Traffic was already heading to gridlock back then - maybe 15 years ago.

I never thought driving through empty landscape was a thrill; I liked little French villages - it was a challenge finding a cafe that was open. Nobody seemed to switch the lights on, so who knows how many we missed when looking for a coffee. We used to use the main roads the first few times, and then when we settled down into a sort of routine, we used the motorways and turned off near places we had found using the normal roads in earlier trips. It's about the food, the wine and the thrill of being with the woman you love more than anything else in this world, out of your usual places, and doing your own Route 66. You need romance in life, not badges for endurance tests in the car.

:-)

Rob

P.S.

Nice photography, by the way.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 05:43:09 PM by Rob C »
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Peter McLennan

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 06:04:11 PM »

Traffic was already heading to gridlock back then - maybe 15 years ago.
Precisely. Hence my first image.

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I never thought driving through empty landscape was a thrill;

It's not a thrill.  It's exactly the opposite.  It's calming, restful.  It allows long, uninterrupted engagements with music or audiobooks.  It promotes introspection, musing and contemplation - much like a walk, only with better scenery changes.

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I liked little French villages

As do I. 

But it's quite a different experience from what North Americans call a road trip.  The pleasures of tiny cafes and lingering lunches are indisputable, but that's a food trip, not a road trip.  A road trip as I know it requires road food - food that doesn't require that you stop the vehicle. You can't be wasting time in a cafe.  :)
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It's about the food, the wine
In Europe, maybe.  It appears you've not driven across North America, so you can be forgiven your suggestion that food and wine play a part of road trips there.
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and the thrill of being with the woman you love more than anything else in this world, 
Agreed.  The woman leaning on the rental VW is my wife of nearly 50 years.
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You need romance in life, not badges for endurance tests in the car.
I seek no badges.  I seek only the unique, intimate pleasures (and some do call it "romance") of the open road.
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degrub

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 06:18:33 PM »

Road Trip = 10,000 km in 2-3 weeks hitting the high spots of a few places. Or sometimes just driving for the 'ell of it. Like Houston to San Diego and back over a long weekend.

Autonomous vehicles are going to take the fun out of becoming one with your car on long drives.... even a '63 VW microbus....
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Peter McLennan

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2018, 11:18:20 PM »

Bob Lutz (and others) predict that it'll be impractical, too expensive and possibly even illegal to self drive in the not too distant future.

http://www.thedrive.com/sheetmetal/15975/bob-lutz-says-we-are-approaching-the-end-of-the-automotive-era
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Two23

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 12:05:49 AM »

Last time I drove a day in the UK it took me from 07.30 to 20.00 to get from Perth to Hemel Hempstead; the year before, the same trip got me into a bedroom in Calais. Traffic was already heading to gridlock back then - maybe 15 years ago.



In my state we routinely drive 85 mph (~140 kph) on the main highways, at least if there isn't snow on them.  A guy can cover a lot of ground. :)  It's one of the things I like about living here.


Kent in SD
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Rob C

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2018, 05:36:32 AM »

Okay, road trip does not always mean road trip.

Or, one man's road trip is another man's mistake in not taking the plane.

That said, I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy a driverless car. Driving, especially when young (if not foolish) lies in the freedom to follow the road and to be autonomously in charge of some kind of geographical destiny. However, in maturity, I believe long exposure to it has to be accompanied by some other stimulus to make it worth the effort, and getting fatigued due to extended periods at the helm is not clever: it's dangerous. Drifting off into introspection and explorations of the navel whilst driving are distractions perilous both to driver and other users of the same track. I find that even having the music on can be a distraction that one is not usually aware is distracting one. For instance, often, when I have to park alongside the pavement, between others so parked, I simply have to turn off the sound in order to engage not only reverse but also the mind.

Of course, the latter is usually the fault of the rotten design of contemporary cars where the four corners have ceased to exist. Having to rely on sound bleeps is simply a manufacturer's admission of intentional design failure in the pursuit of imagined sexiness of shape. I could once park large cars without problems because I could see where they were situated relative to other objects; the whereabouts of my tiny Fiesta's extremities remains a mystery even after seven or so years of familiarity. You might be forgiven for thinking our relationship has not been consumated, but remains a passionless one of small, irritating inconveniences. But what choice else be there? They are all the bloody same.

High speed. In the UK it used to be 70mph on motorways. In Spain it is 120kph and in France, 130kph last time I was there. Thing is, when you have been doing the legal maximum for a few minutes, whether it is 120kph, 130kph or anything else, it feels exactly the same thing: normal. You lose relativity. In my own mind, if you hit something at any of those speeds it really matters little: you are in the next world without the help of a rocket, but let's not let politics ruin the trajectory of this flight discourse.

Rob

Two23

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2018, 11:32:28 AM »


That said, I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy a driverless car. Driving, especially when young (if not foolish) lies in the freedom to follow the road and to be autonomously in charge of some kind of geographical destiny.


While I'm the type who will quickly abandon my original destination when I see a side road and think, "Oh!  That looks interesting!", I do see a practical use for a car that will drive me on its own.  I love to take photos at night, often in the far reaches of the Dakotas.  Most of the time I'm just too tired to immediately drive home at dawn, so I find a spot to nap in my car* long enough to recharge my "battery" for the drive home.  If I had a self driving car, I could just drive to the entrance ramp of a long & straight interstate highway, push a button or two, recline my seat, and tell the car, "Home, James!"  As my Subaru Forester cruises east at 85 mph I'll be having sweet dreams.  (Maybe of Mojca Erdmann. :) )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5Fk4ZjPNfw



Kent in SD
*I'm too cheap to spend $$
for a motel for a few hours.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 12:10:28 PM by Two23 »
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Peter McLennan

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2018, 11:59:41 AM »

Agreed.  I have little need or want for a driverless car.  I'm a retired rural dweller.  Should I live in the city and need to commute, I might have differing views.

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and getting fatigued due to extended periods at the helm is not clever: it's dangerous.
Fatigue is the hidden enemy. People are always falling asleep at the wheel. Extensive motorcycling experience has taught me that noise is the primary agent of fatigue.  Earplugs solve this on a bike, active noise-cancelling headphones solve it in conventional vehicles.  Neither strategy is recommended in heavy traffic, but on the open road, which is the topic of this discussion, they are nothing short of magic in terms of their fatigue reduction.  I regularly drive nine hours straight across the width of southern British Columbia and I arrive in far better condition when I've used my Bose headphones.  Frequently, but not always, they're disconnected from audio input, I hasten to add. "Hearing protection", they call it in industry.

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Drifting off into introspection and explorations of the navel whilst driving are distractions perilous both to driver and other users of the same track.
European driving conditions don't promote such "drifting off". Higher speeds, increased traffic don't lend one to relax mentally. I hasten to add that I have over fifty years of accident-free driving on five continents - much of it on motorcycles, much of it in Asia.

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I find that even having the music on can be a distraction that one is not usually aware is distracting one.
Agreed. As noted above: when conditions dictate, I'll often drive in total silence, if only to allow me to focus on the beauty of the landscape around me.

*there* we brought it back to Landscape Photography.  :)

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High speed. In the UK it used to be 70mph on motorways.
My cruising speed is generally close to 100kph, conditions permitting. On a road trip, speeds higher than that are distracting, noisy and costly.  If you're simply in a rush to get to the next town and Walmart, YMMV.

I still maintain that road trips are the singular privilege of the North American.  A vast network of high quality roads stitch together an entire continent.  Services along this network are easily available and affordable.  Fuel is cheaper here than nearly anywhere else. Traffic is light by international standards. Vehicles have evolved to such a level that mechanical breakdowns are uncommon.  Even flat tires have nearly disappeared. I've had two in the last thirty years.



It is highways like this that lead one to introspection, even on a motorcycle.





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Rob C

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2018, 03:23:08 PM »

That's another lovely photograph, Peter.

Rob

Peter McLennan

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2018, 03:28:06 PM »

Thanks, Rob.  Except for the halo around the windshield.   :'( It was done long before I learned how to mask properly.
I chose it because it fit the topic.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: The American Roadtrip
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2018, 05:00:09 PM »

I just checked this thread for the first time, and it brought back memories of my "almost" American Road Trip. A couple years out of college, working at a USAF research lab, I learned that I was to be let go in another month (too many contractors, not that I was to be fired.)

I decided that before looking for another job, I'd like to see America, so I acquired some tools and spare parts for my motorcycle (a little BMW, not a Harley) and a few road maps.

Then, on my last day of work, my boss called me into his office to offer sympathy for my losing my job. Then he got the idea to call a small local research firm, with USAF contracts, to see if they could take me on. The result was that at about fiftenn miutes before closing time I was hired, by phone, and told to reort to their office the next morning.

Taking that job was one of the most painful decisions of my life.
But it turned out good in the long run.

And several years later I did get across the country, by bus rather than motorcycle....

Sigh!
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-Eric Myrvaagnes (visit my website: http://myrvaagnes.com)
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